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County sprays for mosquitoes, warns of West Nile; infected insects found in Highspire, Londonderry, Steelton

Posted 9/13/17

Dauphin County’s Mosquito-Borne Disease Control Program applied treatments Monday in a portion of Susquehanna Township to control the adult mosquito population and the spread of West Nile …

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County sprays for mosquitoes, warns of West Nile; infected insects found in Highspire, Londonderry, Steelton

Posted

Dauphin County’s Mosquito-Borne Disease Control Program applied treatments Monday in a portion of Susquehanna Township to control the adult mosquito population and the spread of West Nile Virus. 

The first human case of WNV in Dauphin County was reported in September, according to the state’s WNV Control Program, which tracks the information. Allegheny, Chester, Cumberland and Northampton counties also have reported human cases of the virus this year.

Samples collected by the county’s Mosquito-Borne Disease Control Program have shown a high adult mosquito population carrying the virus. A total of 107 infected samples have been collected this summer in the following municipalities: Harrisburg, East Hanover Township, Derry Township, Halifax Township, Highspire, Londonderry Township, Lower Paxton Township, Lykens, Millersburg, Paxtang, South Hanover Township, Steelton, Susquehanna Township, Swatara Township, Washington Township, West Hanover Township, and Wiconisco Township.

Dauphin County officials urge citizens to take the following precautions to reduce the mosquito population and protect themselves:

• Buy products with Bti (Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis) — a naturally-occurring bacteria that kills mosquito larvae but is safe for people, pets and plants — for stagnant pools of water in the lawn and garden.

• Remove any standing water in pots, containers, pool covers, tires, wheelbarrows, wading pools, roof gutters and other containers that hold water.

• Make sure screens fit tightly over doors and windows to keep mosquitoes out of homes.

• Consider wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants and socks when outdoors, particularly when mosquitoes are most active at dawn and dusk, or in areas known for having large numbers of mosquitoes.

• Reduce outdoor exposure at dawn and dusk during peak mosquito periods, usually April through October.

• Use insect repellents according to the manufacturer’s instructions. An effective repellent will contain DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus. Consult with a pediatrician or family physician if you have questions about the use of repellent on children, as repellent is not recommended for children under the age of two months. 

Treatments were scheduled to be administered using ATV-mounted equipment to spray in the areas around Fort Hunter Park and Fort Hunter Road. 

The equipment dispenses Biomist 3 + 15, a permethrin insecticide product, at a rate of 0.75 ounces per acre. 

This is a very low concentration of a pesticide that has been tested and approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for use in controlling adult mosquito populations in and around people, according to a news release from Dauphin County.

Here are some frequently asked questions about mosquito control:

1. Should I wash toys and other items in the yard at the time of the application?

It is not necessary to wash items in your yard after the application. Due to low application rates, any exposure from contact with these surfaces would be low and pose negligible risks.

2. Should I cover the pool before the application?

No, residue in a pool would be low and also diluted by the water in the pool.

3. Should I close the windows and turn off my air conditioner?

The ULV vapor disperses readily, and little movement of the material into open windows with screens is expected. However, individuals with upper respiratory problems, such as asthma, may react to ULV applications. Closing windows and turning off air conditioners is recommended for those with upper respiratory problems. 

 4. How long should I wait before I let my pet out?    

When the chemical is applied at the labeled rates, there are wide margins of safety for humans, dogs, cats and other mammals. Indoor pets may be “let out” immediately following the application. Outdoor pets may be left outdoors.

5. How long should I wait before allowing the children to enter the yard?

The ULV vapor disperses very quickly after the application. Individuals with respiratory problems may react to ULV application. People with these health issues may want to wait an hour before resuming outdoor activities in treated areas. 

6. How do I get on your “no-spray” list?

Call the Dauphin County Mosquito-Borne Disease Control Program at 717-921-8100 to be placed on the list.

To learn more about WNV and prevention, visit the CDC’s website at www.cdc.gov/westnile. For more information about the county’s program, call the Conservation District at 717-921-8100.


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