This year's cool spring suppressed production of the mosquito species involved in West Nile Virus (WNV) transmission and the WNV amplification cycle within the adult mosquito population. With the return of warm temperatures, conditions are ideal to reverse this trend. The Des Plaines Valley Mosquito Abatement District’s lab routinely monitors adult mosquito populations for the presence of WNV, with the first positive sample for the current season collected from a trap in LaGrange this past weekend. While the WNV infection rate within the vector mosquito population is still at a low level, the positive sample is a clear indication that WNV amplification is escalating.
District mosquito larval control operations are aggressively inspecting/treating potential breeding sources to minimize adult mosquito development. The District encourages residents to look for potential mosquito breeding sources around the home, and take the following steps:
1) Throw away all trash that can hold water as cans, jars, bottles, etc.
2) Clean rain gutters/downspouts to prevent water from standing in gutters or on flat roofs.
3) Change water in bird baths, wading pools, etc. at least once a week.
4) Maintain swimming pools properly.
5) Remove or turn over containers, buckets, wheel barrows, etc. which may accumulate water.
6) Screen rain barrels to prevent adult mosquitoes from depositing eggs on the water’s surface.
7) Aerate ornamental ponds and stock with goldfish or other surface-feeding fish to control mosquito production.
8) Dispose of any used tires without rims to prevent water accumulation.
The species of mosquito involved in WNV transmission is a passive mosquito, and not an aggressive biter with its presence often undetected. Residents are encouraged to use a common-sense approach in avoiding exposure to adult mosquitoes and any potential mosquito-borne diseases. If possible, avoid outdoor activities around dusk. If not possible, wear shoes, socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt. Loose fitting, light colored clothing is best. Appropriate use of insect repellents per manufacturer’s instructions is recommended to minimize mosquito bites.
Window screens should be inspected and repaired if damaged to prevent mosquitoes from entering the home. In addition, any openings around window air conditioners, clothes dryer vents, etc. should be eliminated for the same reason.