Mosquito season starts early

Published 11:12 pm Saturday, April 21, 2012

Following a mild winter, mosquito season has come early to the city of Suffolk. In addition to the threat of the itching and aggravation that can follow a bite, mosquitoes can carry the risk of West Nile Virus.

Suffolk Mosquito Control has already kicked off the annual Mosquito Dunk Distribution Program this year. Through this program, Suffolk residents can pick up free mosquito dunk packs through November. The dunks contain a biological pesticide that kills mosquito larvae growing in stagnant water around your home.

Each household can receive one Mosquito Dunk packet per month. The dunks are designed to be placed in areas or artificial containers that typically can harbor mosquito larvae. The dunks are effective for about one month.

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To pick up a packet, a citizen must be at least 18 years of age, show proper identification, give their name, address, and phone number, and provide their signature.

Mosquito dunks can be picked up at the following locations: Suffolk Municipal Building, 441 Market St.; Fire Station 1, 400 Market St.; Fire Station 3, 1001 Whitemarsh Road; Fire Station 4, 837 Lake Kilby Road; Fire Station 5, 3901 Bridge Road; Fire Station 6, 300 Kings Fork Road; Fire Station 7, 555 O’Kelly Road; Fire Station 8, 6235 Whaleyville Blvd.; Fire Station 9, 300 Kings Highway; Fire Station 10, 4869 Bennetts Pasture Road; and East Suffolk Recreation Center, 138 South Sixth St.

Prevention is the best bet when dealing with mosquitoes and mosquito-borne disease. Protect yourself and reduce your risk by following these steps:

-Choose and use a repellent that contains one of these active ingredients: DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR35353. Always follow instructions and do not allow young children to apply insect repellent to themselves.

-Take extra care during peak mosquito hours, usually dawn and dusk.

-Wear long, loose, and light-colored clothing to avoid mosquito bites.

-Avoid wearing perfumed soaps, sprays or other sweet smelling formulations, because mosquitoes are attracted to them.

-Eliminate or treat standing water around your home where mosquitoes breed. Tip and toss standing water from yard containers at least once a week. As little as half an inch of water in a can or dog dish can produce dozens of mosquitoes.