Two mosquito samples tested positive in Franklin County this week for West Nile virus. The positive samples were part of 487 samples collected so far this year by Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection Vector Management.
Last year saw a total of six positive samples collected.
“This is one of the mildest years for West Nile Virus activity since the program started in Franklin County,” said Jason Goetz, Mosquito and Tick Borne Disease Specialist at the Franklin County Planning Department.
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The Franklin County Planning Department’s WNV Program and Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Vector Management collected two positive samples on Sept. 2 within the Borough of Chambersburg.
Franklin County Planning and Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Vector Management are performing additional mosquito surveillance, sampling, and larval control as necessary.
“We recommend that residents continue to take time to inspect their yards,” said Goetz. “Take a few minutes to clean up, reduce yard clutter, and dump out any sources of stagnant water.”
Residents may also purchase a variety of mosquito control and repellent products from most home and garden centers. Performing a community-wide cleanup will help reduce most mosquito concerns. Stormwater management systems can sometimes contribute to mosquito issues. They are also routinely monitored by Franklin County Planning.
Mosquito breeding grounds
Mosquito surveillance in Franklin County indicates that the most common mosquito species in residential areas originates from water in artificial containers left behind by humans. Artificial containers can be something small like a bottle cap to something as large as a swimming pool.
Mosquitoes prefer tires, buckets and tarps because natural predators are not present to prey on mosquito larvae. During periods of drought, these containers continue to hold water and produce mosquitoes. One bucket or tire in a backyard can produce hundreds to thousands of mosquitoes in a year.
Mosquitoes can complete their life cycle within five to seven days between May and October. Residents should consider using repellents when spending time outside. Individuals who do not prefer to use repellents can use an electric fan since mosquitoes do not like the wind. Residents can purchase insecticides from garden centers and hardware stores to spray in their own yard. They need to be sure to follow the label instructions, however.
Franklin County residents can contact the Franklin County West Nile Virus Program by calling 717-261-3855 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for further information. To view sample information, visit http://www.depgis.state.pa.us/WNV/index.html.
For information about West Nile Virus symptoms in humans, contact the Pennsylvania Department of Health at 1-877-PA-Health.