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Washoe County Set to Begin Seasonal Mosquito Abatement

By Carla O'Day
West Nile Virus image courtesy of the CDC

The Washoe County Health District is scheduled to conduct the first seasonal mosquito application April 17, with subsequent applications planned throughout the spring and summer.

The helicopter will cover approximately 1,000 acres from the North Valleys to Washoe Lake. County officials expect increased mosquito activity in coming months due to a wetter-than-average winter and spring. 

This month’s application will consist of Altacid P35, a biological larvicide that exists naturally in the environment that targets mosquito larvae. It has no affects to humans, fish, waterfowl, or other non-targeted insects, such as bees, according to health officials.

Future applications coincide with the effectiveness of the product in order to interrupt the lifecycle of mosquitos at the larval stage, killing larvae before they become flying, biting, disease-transmitting adult mosquitos. 

Health officials remind people that it only takes a few consecutive days of warm weather for mosquitos to become active. Precautionary measures and steps to avoid being bitten by mosquitos include:

  • Wear long sleeve shirts and long pants in mosquito-prone areas, especially in early morning and evening hours when mosquitos are most active
  • Use mosquito repellents, applying a layer directly on skin, and one on clothing for maximum protection
  • Keep window and door screens in good repair to prevent mosquitos from entering into homes
  • Vaccinate horses for Western Equine Encephalitis and West Nile Virus
  • Clear areas around living spaces of any free-standing water and containers that can hold even small amounts of water, including pet bowls and planters

The Vector-Borne Diseases Program also has mosquito fish available for ponds, troughs, and other large water containers. The small minnow-sized fish feed on mosquito larvae and prevent them from hatching into biting adult mosquitos. 

Those experiencing biting mosquitos are asked to call the Washoe County Vector-Borne Diseases Program at 775-785-4599 so the sources of the adult mosquitos can be investigated.

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