RENO, Nev. (MyNews4.com & KRNV) - Our mild winter is prompting an early start to mosquito season. Officials say we may experience biting bugs earlier than normal. So the Washoe County Health District is helping protect the community from the possible health threat of mosquitoes. Their Vector-Borne Diseases Program will begin mosquito larviciding Wednesday morning.
“People don’t like biting mosquitoes, but more importantly they transmit diseases,” said Vector-Borne Coordinator Jim Shaffer.
Shaffer says the treatment disrupts the normal growth pattern of immature mosquitoes in water and prevents them from becoming biting adults.
“If we can keep them in the larval stage, then they’re not going to be out being a nuisance or create a disease issue to humans,” said Shaffer.
About 350 acres will be covered Wednesday with aerial helicopter treatments including Rosewood Lakes, Red Hawk and Butler Ranch. Shaffer says last year they had 10 positive West Nile virus samples, so these treatments are key to our health.
“And the staff went ahead and did a great job to keep it contained in the mosquito population,” said Shaffer. “And if we can do that, then we are doing our jobs.”
Shaffer says budget constraints limits the program to about 5 times a season compared to nearly 12 prior to 2008.
“And as a result of that, we’ve been doing more fogging and that’s not necessarily good because the fact that they’re on the wing, we go ahead and chase them, it’s more reactionary,” said Shaffer.
The product used to treat the mosquitoes is safe for humans and animals. Free mosquito fish are available to the public for ponds or other sources. Go to http://www.washoecounty.us/health/ehs/vbdp.html for more information.