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Thursday, 02 June 2011 11:52

Brooks’ mosquito control program for 2011

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Officials with the City of Brooks will again be partaking in the mosquito control program this year.
The Parks Services Mosquito Control Program is designed to help combat West Nile Virus through a larvae control program. The program is not meant for nuisance mosquito control; the larvicide targets potential mosquito breeding sites in and around the city killing off mosquito larvae.

Certified staff members target larva in standing ponds on public lands in Brooks and in the adjacent areas. The City does not provide control on private lands. Mosquito spraying programs kill mosquitos that are in the area at that exact moment, but do nothing to stop new mosquitos from blowing into the community from outlying areas. These programs are often very costly without providing any substantial, long-term results.

In Alberta, there are 44 different species of mosquitoes. The Culex tarsalis is the species most likely to carry and transmit the West Nile virus from infected birds to people and horses. The breeding season of the Culex tarsalis runs from mid-June to September; the risk of contracting West Nile virus increases during this period and peaks during August.

The best protection for residents to enjoy the summer and stave off mosquitoes is personal preventative measures. This includes the safe application of repellents that are federally-regulated such as those that contain DEET.

The concentration of DEET should be no greater than 30 per cent for adults and no greater than 10 per cent for children. The protection levels offered by DEET products are as follows:

• 30 per cent DEET will provide approximately 6.5 hours of protection;

• 15 per cent DEET will provide approximately five hours of protection;

• 10 per cent DEET will provide approximately three hours of protection.

For those who do not wish to use DEET, an alternative has been identified by the Government of Canada. Oil of Lemon (P-menthane 3, 8-diol), available as Off Botanicals in Canada, provides up to two hours of protection.

Do not use it on children under three years old.

Mosquitoes are most during dusk and dawn; if residents need to be outside during this time, cover up and use repellent. In addition, light-coloured clothing does not attract mosquitoes and long-sleeved shirts with full pants and socks will provide the best protection.

Other effective measures to reduce mosquito populations are the elimination of breeding sites and resting sites. Culex tarsalis lay their eggs in shallow pools of warm, sunlit standing water. Standing water around a home is a potential breeding site and long vegetation is a mosquito resting site. Taking simple steps to eliminate these sites can help protect families.

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