Spraying for Mosquitoes Begins in Washoe County - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Spraying for Mosquitoes Begins in Washoe County

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As warmer weather makes a comeback, so will mosquitoes. It's looking like a pretty big year for the bugs, and it won't be long before mosquitoes are on the warpath again. It’s hatching time for them, and they bring the threat of West Nile, or even the Zika virus.

This year there's a bad omen…it's been wet, and that means more breeding ground for more little biters, spreading a very dangerous disease...this year in a wider area. Vector-borne Disease Specialist Will Lumpkin told us they expect mosquitoes, "In areas where we typically don't have them. Just kind of on the borders, and they're more spread out."

Washoe County Vector Control is part of the health department. They work pretty much unnoticed, until the potentially deadly mosquito threat comes up every summer. Lumpkin says, "We have about 8 or 10 species of mosquitoes in the area that are capable of transmitting various diseases. West Nile Virus is our primary one."

West Nile is often fatal, and there's no cure for it. The only thing will and his crew can do is prevention. Today (Wednesday) was the first seasonal application of their biological control agent. Lumpkin says, "That actually is a bacterial spore. And the mosquito larvae consume it, and it becomes lethal once they consume it." The granules are loaded into a dispenser attached to a helicopter. After takeoff, we watched as it dropped them over the many standing water pools, targeting Washoe County's wet spots, "Spanish Springs, Stead, Rosewood Lakes and the Damonte Ranch areas."

But they can't stop all infected mosquitoes. For you and I, avoiding them is our only defense. And this is how you do it: wear long sleeves and long pants outdoors. Use mosquito repellent like DEET. Keep windows and door screens in good shape. Vaccinate horses for Western Equine Encephalitis and West Nile. And clear out any free-standing water. Lumpkin says, “That can be as small as a 5-gallon bucket to a boat that's not maintained that's being hit with sprinklers, abandoned swimming pools or just things in the yard that are unmaintained."

Other granule drops are planned for July, August and September...eventually covering 3,100 acres from the North Valleys to Washoe Lake.

And along with West Nile, mosquitoes also carry the deadly Zika virus. That has not shown up in northern Nevada, but the mosquito abatement drops can stop that too. The Washoe County Health District asks that if you experience biting mosquitoes, call the Vector-borne Diseases Program at 785-4599 so they can investigate their source.

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