Contact: Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902
National Mosquito Control Awareness Week: June 26-July 2
DNREC Mosquito Control Section urges: Do your part
in helping keep mosquito populations down in Delaware
DOVER (June 24, 2016) – The American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA) has declared June 26-July 2 as the 20th annual National Mosquito Control Awareness Week, and in observance of it, DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife Mosquito Control Section is encouraging Delawareans to take precautions to avoid or reduce mosquito bites, and to put particular emphasis on eliminating backyard mosquito-producing habitat.
“As a sustaining member of the American Mosquito Control Association, the Delaware Mosquito Control Section joins with our AMCA colleagues around the country in highlighting our efforts in making modern life as mosquito-free as possible, or at least tolerable compared to extreme infestations in the past,” said Dr. William Meredith, Delaware Mosquito Control Section administrator and past AMCA president. “But we can’t achieve all of this on our own, so we urge property owners to help us – and themselves – by practicing good water sanitation on their lands.”
Whenever there are large rainfall events, Mosquito Control staff work hard to control the large numbers of mosquitoes that can emerge from natural habitats. However, contending with the many artificial habitats holding standing water requires the help of homeowners throughout the state. The best approach for mosquitoes is prevention, and it’s easy to make a difference in your community by eliminating standing water from artificial containers on your property and encouraging your neighbors to do the same.
Common house mosquitoes and Asian tiger mosquitoes are known carriers of West Nile virus, and in Delaware are common mosquitoes produced in backyards and neighborhoods throughout the state. Asian tiger mosquitoes are of additional concern as potential carriers for chikungunya and Zika viruses, which could be introduced into the local mosquito population if a Delaware mosquito bites a resident who returns home from travel abroad carrying these viruses.
Asian tiger mosquitoes lay eggs in and hatch from artificial container habitats including tarps, flower pots, buckets, boats, tires, rain gutters, corrugated downspout pipes – anything in your yard that can collect water. These nuisance mosquitoes don’t fly more than a few hundred yards from where they hatch, so that means that if you have these mosquitoes, the source is very likely your yard or one of your immediate neighbors’. Removal of even the smallest amounts of standing water in artificial containers from your property will help reduce or eliminate these mosquitoes from your area.
If you can’t eliminate the mosquitoes from your area, always remember to protect yourself from mosquito bites by avoiding outdoor activities during peak mosquito times (dusk to dawn), wearing long sleeves and long pants, and/or properly using mosquito repellent.
To combat mosquitoes, the Mosquito Control Section provides spray services by helicopter, fixed-wing aircraft and truck-mounted sprayer. Advance public notice of when and where spraying for adult mosquitoes will occur is available by calling 800-338-8181 toll-free and in radio announcements on some stations. Interested parties may also subscribe to receive email, text or phone message notices of mosquito control spraying in their area by signing up on the Spray Zone Notification System at http://de.gov/mosquitospray.
In addition to providing mosquito control services, the Mosquito Control Section also monitors for various mosquito-borne illnesses. As part of their annual West Nile virus monitoring program, Mosquito Control requests that the public report finding sick or dead birds for possible testing. Residents are asked to report the following species only: crows, blue jays, cardinals, robins, hawks or owls, plus clusters of five or more sick or dead wild birds of any species. Bird specimens should have been dead for less than 24 hours and not appear to have died or been killed by other obvious causes.
Zika and chikungunya viruses are mosquito-borne diseases currently found in South and Central America and the Caribbean, and there is some concern about these viruses possibly occurring in local mosquito populations in southern and Mid-Atlantic areas of the U.S., including Delaware. Unlike West Nile virus, neither of these two viruses involves wild birds as hosts, but rather are transmitted by mosquitoes person-to-person, so monitoring wild bird populations or sentinel chickens would not be an effective means of detecting these viruses in local mosquitoes. For further information on preventing Zika visit: http://dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dph/zika.html
To report sick or dead birds, or to report intolerable numbers of biting mosquitoes and request mosquito control services, please call Mosquito Control’s field offices between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday:
- New Castle County and northern Kent County from Dover north, call Mosquito Control’s Glasgow office at 302-836-2555
- Remainder of southern Kent County and all of Sussex County, call Mosquito Control’s Milford office at 302-422-1512
Callers to Mosquito Control field offices after business hours or during weekends or holidays can leave voicemail with their name, phone number, address and a brief message. Messages regarding dead birds that are left more than 24 hours before Mosquito Control can review them – typically messages left between Friday evening and Sunday morning when staff might not be present – may result in birds becoming too deteriorated for virus testing.
For more information on Delaware’s Mosquito Control program, please call the main office at 302-739-9917, or click Delaware Mosquito Control.
For more information about West Nile virus in humans, please contact the Delaware Division of Public Health at 302-744-1033 or 888-295-5156. For more information about West Nile virus in horses, eastern equine encephalitis or vaccines, please contact the State Veterinarian at the Delaware Department of Agriculture at 800-282-8685 (Delaware only) or 302-698-4500.
DNREC’s Mosquito Control Section provides statewide services to about 945,000 Delaware residents and 7.5 million visitors annually to maintain quality of life and protect public health by reducing the possibility of mosquito-borne illnesses such as West Nile virus, eastern equine encephalitis, chikungunya and Zika virus. Throughout the warmer months, Mosquito Control monitors and treats mosquito populations that emerge from wetland areas throughout the state, including ditches, stormwater ponds, wet woodlands and coastal salt marshes, using EPA-registered insecticides. These insecticides have been determined by EPA to pose no unreasonable risk to human health, wildlife or the environment when professionally applied. The Section also works year-round on water and marsh management projects designed to reduce mosquito populations, and provides the public with information on dealing with mosquitoes, from reducing backyard mosquito production to avoiding mosquito bites. For more information, call 302-739-9917 or visit http://de.gov/mosquito.
Follow the Division of Fish & Wildlife on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DelawareFishWildlife.
Vol. 46, No. 232