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Mosquito, West Nile Virus, and How to Protect Yourself

A few days ago, the Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) confirmed the presence of West Nile virus in mosquitoes collected in the Riverdale Park area. In response, MDA will utilize Ultra-Low Volume truck-based mosquito spraying within a three-quarter mile radius of the positive sample in Riverdale Park, Hyattsville, Edmonston and Rogers Heights. West Nile virus is spread to people from mosquito bites; for more information about West Nile virus, including signs and symptoms, please visit the CDC’s website here.

In an effort to reduce mosquitoes in our area, MDA conducts weekly mosquito activity surveillance and mosquito spraying and larvaciding throughout the City and the County. Between July 2 and 9, MDA larvacided the entire City and will treat the area again soon. MDA also recently sprayed sections of the City that met the required thresholds and will continue to test and treat City neighborhoods as needed. For more information about mosquito spraying in the City, please click here. If thresholds are met, Wednesday night is the designated time when mosquito spraying will occur in the City. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for notifications when spraying will occur.

You can help protect yourself from mosquito bites by using insect repellents and wearing long, loose-fitting and light colored clothing particularly at dusk and after when the primary vector is most active. You can also reduce the amount of mosquitoes in your yard or area by removing stagnant water sources (mosquitoes breeding sources) by tipping over or emptying all water-holding containers (tarps, bowls, pots, toys, bird baths, etc). For permanent areas of standing water (ponds, rain barrels, etc), contact the City’s Department of Public Works for mosquito torpedoes that target and kill mosquito larvae.

Mosquito Repellent

It’s important to note that spraying in and of itself is not very effective. The chemical MDA uses is only effective upon contact. If the mosquitoes are not out (example daytime mosquitoes won’t be out) then they won’t be affected by the spray. They also do not spray individual yards, they spray down the middle of the road and the spray only goes about 150 ft, therefore it won’t reach most back yards.

It is recommended that residents use mosquito repellent whenever outside for any amount of time.
MDA recommends any of these ingredients: Picaridin, IR3535, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus, or DEET.

Picaridin repels insects, ticks and chiggers. It is a synthetic compound first made in the 1980s. It was made to resemble the natural compound piperine, which is found in the group of plants that are used to produce black pepper. Picaridin has been widely used as an insect repellent in Europe and Australia, but has only been available in the United States since 2005.

IR3535 or ethyl butylacetylaminopropionate, is one of the most common active ingredients in insect repellents. As it is solely a repellent it has no killing action and does not give rise to selection pressure or development of resistance.

Oil of lemon eucalyptus is mainly PMD, which provides highly effective mosquito protection, and is approved for use in all disease endemic areasoil of lemon eucalyptus’ is mainly PMD, which provides highly effective mosquito protection, and is approved for use in all disease endemic areas.

N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide, also called DEET (/diːt/) or diethyltoluamide, is the most common active ingredient in insect repellents. It is a slightly yellow oil intended to be applied to the skin or to clothing and provides protection against mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, chiggers, leeches and many biting insects.

The most prevalent mosquito we have is the following:
Tiger mosquito – mostly at dusk; they are container breeders so they live and breed in the same area most of their lives. They rarely fly more than 200 yards. The best thing residents can do is control their own environment by emptying or tipping anything that can hold water (tarps, toys, pools, bottle caps, anything that can hold any water) and control any overgrowth of plants, grass as they provide a cool area for the mosquito to live in. Also clean gutters of any residual debris so water can flow and not back up.
Culex and Anopheles breed in puddles and live and breed in a 1-2 mile range (use mosquito dunks or torpedo available at Public Works)

The other option residents can do is hire a company to spray their yard or buy the product from a hardware store and attach spray nozzle to garden hose and spray their own yard. Please note: Both these methods kill all bugs (good and bad) including bees. The product also stays on surfaces from 20-30 days.

[ Source: City of College Park]

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