Officials offer tips on avoiding threat of West Nile Virus
Officials want to remind residents that the best way to control mosquitoes, which can transmit the virus to humans, is to get rid of standing water on your property. In a news release, the Health Department strongly recommended the following precautions to reduce the mosquito population in your yard, which in turn will help reduce the risk of West Nile:
- Empty standing water from flowerpots, buckets, wheelbarrows, pet water dishes, and birdbaths on a regular basis.
- Drill holes in the bottom of outdoor recycling containers so that water will not collect.
- Keep your property clear of old tires.
- Clean roof gutters, particularly if leaves from surrounding trees have a tendency to plug drains.
- Turn over plastic wading pools when not in use.
- Aerate ornamental pools or stock them with fish.
- Clean and chlorinate swimming pools when not in use. A swimming pool left untended for a month can produce enough mosquitoes to result in neighborhood-wide complaints. Mosquitoes can even breed in the water that collects on top of pool covers.
- For stagnant pools of water that cannot be drained, homeowners can purchase Bti products – commonly called mosquito dunks – at lawn and garden and home improvement stores. Bti is naturally occurring bacteria that kills mosquito larvae but is safe for people, pets, aquatic life and plants.
Personal protection is also important during warmer weather. The Chester County Health Department recommends these simple precautions to prevent mosquito bites: Make sure screens fit tightly over doors and windows to keep mosquitoes out of your home; consider wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants and socks when outdoors, particularly when mosquitoes are most active at dawn and dusk; when possible, reduce outdoor exposure at dawn and dusk during the summer months; use insect repellants with DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus, and with your health care provider if you have questions about the use of repellant on children.
For more information about the Chester County West Nile Virus program, visit www.chesco.org/health/wnv. Chester County residents can be notified about future mosquito spray events through the Chester County web site, by signing up for the Health Department mailing list at http://chesco.org/index.aspx?NID=2180, or by viewing the Health Department’s Facebook page or Twitter account. For questions relating to West Nile Virus prevention, call the Health Department at 610-344-6752.