The City of Oak Ridge North uses larvicides to kill mosquito larvae. Larvicides include biological insecticides, such as the microbial larvicides Bacillus sphaericus and Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis. Larvicides include other pesticides, such as temephos, methoprene, oils, and monomolecular films. Larvicide treatment of breeding habitats helps reduce the adult mosquito population in nearby areas. Typically, the City uses the Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis microbial larvicide, which has been effective in treating mosquitoes’ larvae before they hatch. Information on larvicides is available on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's website.
Ground spraying (adulticiding)
Adulticiding is a process of reducing the population of adult mosquitoes with the use of insecticides. This is usually conducted using ground equipment. Most cities use Permethrin (or a derivative of Permethrin, such as Resmethrin) in ground spraying efforts. Permethrin is a common synthetic chemical, widely used as an insecticide, acaricide, and insect repellent. It belongs to the family of synthetic chemicals called pyrethroids and functions as a neurotoxin, affecting neuron membranes by prolonging sodium channel activation.
* For public health use, Permethrin, is the most widely used mosquito adulticide in the United States because of its low cost, high efficacy, and low incidence of pest resistance. In residential uses, where there may be a potential for ecological effects due to urban runoff, the EPA intends to identify steps which can be taken to allow a greater understanding of potential ecological risk from urban uses of pyrethroid as a whole during registration review. *Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Texas cities that opt for aerial spraying typically use a product called Duet, a public health mosquito control product. It has two active ingredients: Sumithrin and Prallethrin. Duet was registered by the U.S. EPA for use for public health applications in 1995 to help control adult mosquito populations.
The most important thing citizens can do to reduce the risk of exposure to West Nile virus is to eliminate mosquito-breeding areas around the home and limit exposure to feeding mosquitoes. Many female mosquitoes can lay 100-300 eggs on the surface of fresh or stagnant water every third night during its life span. Here are some simple things citizens can do to eliminate potential mosquito breeding sites around the home:
Do not allow water to accumulate in the saucers of flowerpots, cemetery urns, or in pet dishes for more than two days
- Get rid of tin cans, old tires, buckets, unused plastic swimming pools, or other containers that collect and hold water
- Clean debris from rain gutters, remove standing water from flat roofs, and repair leaks around faucets and air conditioners
- Change the water in birdbaths and wading pools at least once a week
- Fill or drain puddles, ditches and swampy areas
- Check for trapped water in plastic or canvas tarps used to cover boats or pools, and arrange the tarp to drain the water
West Nile virus is a mosquito-borne illness. Up to 80 percent of people infected with West Nile virus will have no symptoms and will recover on their own; however, some cases can cause serious illness or death. People over 50 and those with weakened immune systems are at a higher risk of becoming ill if they become infected with the virus.
The best defense is to practice these habits, known as the "Four Ds":
- Use insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus.
- Dress in long sleeves and long pants when you are outside.
- Stay indoors at dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.
- Drain standing water where mosquitoes breed. Common breeding sites include old tires, flowerpots and clogged rain gutters.