A week ago Cache Mosquito Abatement District workers started checking areas of standing water in the valley for mosquito larvae which spokesperson Terrie Wierenga says is the most effective method of mosquito abatement.
“First of all the mosquito larvae are much more concentrated than the flying adult mosquitoes so we actually get much higher kill rate on the mosquitoes that way. Plus we can use the pesticides and chemicals that are specifically targeted to the mosquito larvae.”
This “larviciding” method comprises 80 percent of the district’s abatement effort.
“Fogging is only about 20 percent of our actual mosquito abatement work. Most of the field work is the larvicide effort. Fogging gets the attention because it occurs at night when people are at home in their bedrooms and they hear and see the flashing lights and the truck go by.”
In an effort to measure adult mosquito numbers throughout the district, traps will be positioned later in May.
“That way we collect the adult mosquitoes overnight when they are the most active and the next morning we collect all the traps and return them to our laboratory. If we count 50 mosquitoes or more in a trap that is when we begin the fogging to kill the adult mosquitoes.”
Trapped mosquitoes can also be tested for West Nile Virus and other mosquito-borne diseases.
“Last year, for whatever reason and despite all our high moisture levels, we just did not see the West Nile Virus confirmed in our mosquito pools up here. Further south, down state, they had quite a heavy season with a lot of mosquito pools found positive for West Nile Virus and Equine Encephalitis.”
And what are the most practical measures we can take everyday for protection against mosquitoes?
“If you are outside from dusk until dawn wear long sleeves, pants and a mosquito repellant that is approved by the CDC,” said Wierenga. “Remember, our district doesn’t exist to kill off every mosquito in the world. Mosquitoes do feed a lot of our bird life and our bat life and a lot of other wildlife.
“That said, we do have an overabundance of mosquitoes and that’s where our district comes in, to help control those numbers.”
The Cache Mosquito Abatement District covers the unincorporated areas of Cache County and every community in the valley except for Logan, River Heights and Paradise.