Mosquito season has been in full swing for months. Now Bucks County is turning to treatment after a scare.
The Bucks County Health Department will conduct mosquito sprayings this week due to a few positive West Nile virus samples found in the area.
The Bristol neighborhoods that will be sprayed are Magnolia Hill and Holly Hill, as well as Drexel Road, Parson Place, and Saint Barnabas Circle.
In Falls Township, the Birch Valley neighborhood and Cassingham Road will be sprayed.
Phil Smith, Mosquito Control Coordinator with the Bucks County Health Department noted the treatments will only affect the bugs.
The chemical Duet Dual-Action Adulticide will dispense at an estimated rate of 0.75 ounces per acre.
“It’s not like back in the 50’s in Levittown where you use to see big white clouds of smoke,” Smith joked. “In general you don’t see anything and you don’t smell anything. And it won’t affect pools or gardens.”
He said Asian Tiger Mosquitoes are to blame for bites in the daytime. However, during the night is when the West Nile virus risk is possible.
“Culex Mosquitos are the ones that carry West Nile,” Smith explained.
“This spray is targeting them, but one of the effects of Duet is it has an irritant to make some of these Tiger Mosquitoes to fly rather than hide and it may also help to knock down some of those numbers.”
The treatment will take place Thursday at dusk but could be moved to Friday weather permitting.
Orkin, Pest and Termite Control, created a ‘Top 50 Mosquito Cities List’ at the based on data from 2016 and Philadelphia ranked number 21 with none from New Jersey. WBCB spoke with Dr. Mark Beavers, an Orkin Entomologist, from Atlanta which placed number one on the list. In the interview, Bucks County was discussed and its close proximity to a place of concern.
Can you explain how this list was put together?
Dr. Mark Beavers: Well first off I think the real purpose behind this list is to raise general awareness about mosquitoes and the potential health risks associated with them. Whether you’re number one or number 50 or you’re not on the list at all the important thing is to bring people’s attention to mosquitos and how they can be a real problem. That’s first and foremost.
But as far as how we got to the actual data, it’s essentially based on the residential and commercial treatments that we do for our customers throughout the country. So that’s how Philadelphia ended up being where it is due to input from our residential branches and our commercial branches.
Our station, WBCB 1490 AM, is located in Bucks County – would you say Bucks County should be more aware since we are so close to Philadelphia.
Dr. Mark Beavers: In terms of Bucks County, I don’t want to talk about specifics because all mosquitoes need is food, water, and shelter almost like anything else. And they need a warm environment. Mosquitoes are all over the country so they are not just in your county or Philadelphia, they are everywhere. But there are things people can do to reduce the likelihood of being bitten by mosquitos by managing the water – water is where mosquitos could be breeding. If they have artificial containers, even coke cans, it only takes about less than an inch of water (for breeding to occur).
Mosquitoes can fall in trash and debris to lay eggs, you want to make sure you get rid of that debris. The same applies for moving water if you have gutters that are backed up and therefore the water cannot flow that’s an opportunity for the mosquitoes to breed. So if you have drainage ditches where there’s a lot of vegetation and so the water sits there, mosquitoes can breed in that.
If there are ways you can detract the areas that attract mosquitos those are one way you can reduce concerns.
What are other tips people can do to limit mosquitoes in their area?
Dr. Mark Beavers: We talked about breeding, but as for the adults, they like warm, humid, dark areas where they can be protected. So if you have a lot of lush vegetation, trim it back a little bit. The next comes down to personal protection and how you can personally prevent that mosquito from biting you in the first place so use repellent. Most importantly, repellent approved by the EPA. These products will include DEET, IR 3535 or picaridin. All you have to do is check the labels when you go to the store and make sure those three ingredients are in the repellent.
Also important to remember it’s (repellent is) like sunscreen. The repellent will wear off so if you put it on at 4 o’clock in the afternoon and you’re still relying on it at 10 o’clock in the evening, that may be stretching it a little bit.
Another thing is, mosquitos like dark colors so if you wear light color clothing it can be a little bit less attractive.
That’s interesting I never knew that about the clothing.
Dr. Beavers: Also, wear loose fitting clothes because if you wear tight clothes the mosquito’s mouthparts will have an easier time to pierce through that. The loose fitting clothes have folds and so forth and so on, which lowers the likelihood to get a bite.
The diseases and illnesses you can get from a mosquito bite are a big part of mosquito season awareness. Can you talk about that?
Dr. Beavers: Number one mosquitoes are nuisances; no body likes to be bitten by a mosquito with the welt that you develop. But mosquitoes do get involved with the transmission of disease, and of course, the one everyone has been talking about over the past year is the Zika virus. However, there are other ones as you move further north that are also of concern. For example, West Nile virus, which is throughout the United States not just in the southeast and along the southern border like Zika. For those who may not know West Nile virus, on average according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, over a hundred people die of West Nile every year. It’s not just a matter of protecting yourself from the mosquito bites, but you also have to worry about the diseases they may transmit as well. For more information, you can check with your local health department.
For those who may not know West Nile virus, on average according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, claims the lives of more than a hundred people every year. It’s not just a matter of protecting yourself from the mosquito bites, but you also have to worry about the diseases they may transmit as well. For more information, you can check with your local health department.
This list is to raise awareness. We want to make sure people understand mosquitos are a problem, not only as a nuisance problem but also as a health risk factor. Orkin wants to make sure people are out there that are aware and engaged and working to help reduce the mosquito population for their neighborhood and community.
*Updated July 27, 2017, with added insight from Bucks County Health Department’s Mosquito Control Coordinator