Mosquitoes Still Pose Threat
Fall is in the air, as witnessed by cooler and crisper days, the return of foliage reports, and kids back in school, but mosquitoes haven’t stopped looking for their next meals. With the threat of mosquito-borne viruses, the Vermont Department of Health (VDH) has issued warnings to be cautious, especially in some Franklin and Grand Isle County areas, where Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) has been found in tests of mosquitoes from Alburgh and Swanton. And a horse that was infected in Vermont died of EEE in early September. (Horses cannot transmit the virus to humans.) VDH urges residents in those areas to avoid being outside from dusk until dawn, times of the day when mosquitoes are most active.
The Agency of Agriculture collects mosquitoes from sites around the state, which VDH then tests for the occurrence of mosquito-borne viruses like EEE and West Nile Virus. Reports of the weekly tests are posted at the Department of Health website: Mosquitoes in Vermont | Vermont Department of Health (healthvermont.gov). There have been no reports of humans infected by those viruses.
According to the Agency of Agriculture, as quoted in Seven Days, there are twice as many mosquitoes this summer than the average of each of the past 13 years. Standing water from the extensive flooding this summer added to the proliferation by creating breeding grounds. VDH suggests ways to prevent the presence of mosquitos by emptying outdoor containers, tires, flower pots, etc. where water has pooled. To treat water that has mosquito eggs or larvae, use Mosquito Dunks or similar bacterium product, which can be found at hardware and garden stores.
People can prevent mosquito bites by wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors, using insect repellent labeled as effective against mosquitoes, covering baby carriages and pens with mosquito netting, and fixing holes in window screens and screen doors.
With so many insect repellents available, it may help to use the EPA interactive online tool to find one: Find the Repellent that is Right for You | US EPA. And, soon enough, cooler weather will take care of the pests!