Recent reports of the West Nile Virus appearing across the country and in North Carolina have led many people to ask what they can do to prevent the spread of the disease. One of the easiest ways is to manage mosquito populations and prevent breeding pools from forming in the first place.
“The mosquito species that transmit West Nile Virus tend to breed in wastewater collection areas and stagnating catch-basins,” said Dr. Michael Waldvogel, extension associate professor and pest specialist with N.C. State University. “So, one obvious approach for residents is to make sure they clear stagnating water sources on their property.”
Many areas of the state have received substantial amounts of rain this summer. As a result, some of those areas could see a rise in mosquito activity and therefore, increase cases of mosquito-borne diseases such as West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE).
Waldvogel, who is also a member of the N.C. Structural Pest Control Committee, recently compiled a list of areas farmers and homeowners can use to look for signs of breeding pools on their properties.
In addition to preventative methods made on your property, Waldvogel encourages people to remember personal protection when they go outside.
“Horse owners need to spend the time and money to get their horses vaccinated against EEE,” Waldvogel said. “For us two-legged creatures, we simply need to take precautions when we’re outdoors for work or recreation.”
Protective measures can include wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants to cover all areas of your skin. If it’s too uncomfortable to wear those items, you can protect your skin with an insect repellent. Before applying any repellent on children, remember to read the label carefully and make sure it contains concentrations appropriate for use on children.
Mosquito management is a long-term proactive project that requires a community effort in order to succeed. You can find more information about mosquito management on the N.C. Cooperative Extension Service website. Horse owners can learn more about the history, prevention and treatment of EEE on the department’s website.