West Nile Virus and Mosquito Control
Posted: July 5, 2011
West Nile Virus is a disease transmitted by mosquitoes. It was first identified in the United States in 1999 and was probably introduced by an infected bird or mosquito. Birds serve as a reservoir for the virus. When a mosquito bites an infected bird, it ingests the virus. The mosquito can then transmit the virus to the next bird, animal or human that it bites.
There is no vaccine for West Nile Virus but you can greatly reduce your risk by reducing the number of mosquitoes around your home. Mosquitoes need water to breed and can complete their life cycle in as little as two weeks in warm weather. It is important to eliminate standing water around your home.
- Dispose of cans, containers, old children’s toys, bottles - anything that holds water.
- Get rid of old tires. Tires have become one of the most important mosquito breeding sites.
- Clean clogged roof gutters.
- Drill holes in garbage cans and recycling containers.
- Keep swimming pools cleaned and chlorinated.
- Rinse birdbaths weekly.
- Ornamental ponds should be aerated and stocked with fish.
- Make sure doors and window screens are “bug tight”.
- Wear long sleeves and long pants.
- Use repellents according to label directions.
- Mosquitoes are repelled by high winds. Electric fans may provide relief at outdoor events.
- Mosquitoes are attracted to exhaled carbon dioxide. “Bug Zappers” do not attract mosquitoes and so are an ineffective control.
For more information, contact the Lehigh County West Nile Resource Center at 610-366-8345 or check out the Pennsylvania West Nile Virus Control Program.