Help prevent mosquitoes

Published 7:28 pm Wednesday, August 1, 2018

The announcement came earlier this week that West Nile Virus is still being detected in mosquitoes in the downtown area.

Mosquitoes trapped in the North Street and Market Street areas and in the neighborhoods of Lakeside and Philadelphia tested positive for the virus this time around.

About a month ago, mosquitoes in North Street also tested positive for West Nile, as well as some in Riverview and near Dumville Lane. Eastern Equine Encephalitis was detected in Cove Point and Lamb Avenue areas in June.

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A human infection of West Nile Virus has never been confirmed in Suffolk. Most people never experience symptoms, and when they do, they are usually mild, flu-like symptoms.

Eastern Equine Encephalitis can be much worse for humans, and horses are greatly at risk. Horses in Suffolk have had to be euthanized in past years because they were bitten by an infected mosquito and had not been vaccinated.

The city’s Mosquito Control Division is waging war against these little buggers, but ordinary citizens can greatly reduce the mosquito population right from the start by eliminating breeding areas.

Essentially, if you’ve got old tires, unfiltered bird baths, clogged gutters, flower pot saucers, wheelbarrows or anything else that’s holding water on your property, you’re helping mosquitoes proliferate. Even an upside-down Frisbee could be enough for a mosquito to lay eggs. Mosquitoes will lay eggs in as little as one tablespoon of water.

There’s no excuse for allowing mosquitoes to breed in your yard. You could be putting yourself, your family, your neighbors and nearby animals, especially horses, at risk.

You can also help treat standing water that can’t be eliminated with Mosquito Dunks, which are available free at city fire stations, City Hall, recreation centers and libraries. You have to be at least 18 and show picture identification proving you live in the city.

The good news that came from Mosquito Control this week is that the mosquito population has decreased, but the remaining population continues to test positive for West Nile.

No matter how much everyone helps eliminate unnecessary breeding areas, adult mosquitoes are inevitable. However, there is plenty you can do to protect yourself from bites.

Residents are advised to stay indoors at dusk and dawn, the most active times for mosquitoes. They should also wear loose, long and light-colored clothing outdoors and use insect repellants containing DEET.