Residents must do their part to eliminate mosquitoes, lessen threat of West Nile |

Residents must do their part to eliminate mosquitoes, lessen threat of West Nile

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection is spraying parts of Fayette County to kill mosquitoes that may be carrying the West Nile virus. Common sense and a little diligence may be just as important to minimize the incidence of West Nile in the county.

The DEP recently sprayed throughout Dawson Borough and a portion of Dunbar Township due to a large number of mosquitoes being found in the area. Mosquitoes carry the West Nile virus, and so far this summer six mosquito pools have tested positive for the potentially deadly virus.

While spraying is needed, there are steps that people can take to make the area less conducive to the breeding of mosquitoes and, thus, make it less susceptible to the virus.

Mosquitoes typically breed in standing water. Among their favorite breeding grounds are large pools or puddles or other standing water, such as that which collects in tires. By eliminating the standing water, the breeding grounds for mosquitoes is limited.

The DEP has offered several recommendations for diminishing the habitat for mosquitoes. They include removal of tires, keeping drain pipes unclogged, proper disposal of cans, plastic containers and other items that may collect water, regular changing of water in birdbaths and ornamental pools.

The basic common sense approach says residents should simply keep their eyes out for the formation of puddles and pools or the collection of standing water and then take steps to address them. By being diligent in this respect — with everyone taking proper care of their own property — we can effectively reduce the chance of mosquitoes congregating in our communities.

Reports of West Nile so far this year indicate a serious need for people to respond to the DEP’s recommendations. Six mosquito pools have already tested positive for the West Nile virus this year. One bird — a dead crow found in German Township — tested positive for the virus. One county resident, a 29-year-old woman tested positive for the virus and has since recovered. Last year, 62 Pennsylvanians contracted West Nile, with nine of them dying.

The incentive for keeping our properties clear of mosquito habitat is clear. We encourage residents to take the matter seriously and do their part.

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