By Andrea Cordle
It’s officially mosquito season. The pesky insects are not just annoying, they present a potential health risk. Mosquitoes can transmit diseases like West Nile Virus and encephalitis.
According to Cindy Fitzpatrick, the director of public service for the city of Grove City, the city has entered into a contract with Franklin County Public Health for mosquito control. The city paid the county $23,500 this year to trap, count and test mosquitoes.
According to Franklin County Public Health, the mosquitoes are collected in pools of less than 50. So far this year, Grove City has had one pool test positive.
“We had one in the west region to test positive for the West Nile Virus,” said Fitzpatrick.
Fitzpatrick said the county has broken the city into four quadrants – north, south, east and west. Where the county finds a positive test, they spray that area. In 2018, the city had 48 pools test positive for West Nile Virus – 20 in the north quadrant, 16 in the south and 12 in the west.
This year, the county is using a natural botanical pyrethrin, an insecticide derived from chrysanthemum flowers. The county uses the spray in the evening when a high volume of mosquitoes is found. According to the county, the spray is safe to be applied around organic gardens, farms and crops. However, the county does maintain a ‘do not spray’ registry of residents who request the spray not be used around their property.
Mosquitoes require standing water for their young to hatch and develop. Once the eggs are laid, the insects can hatch and emerge from the water as adults in one week.
“Mosquitoes tend to stay where they hatched,” said Fitzpatrick. “So, if you have mosquitoes around your house, they were likely born there.”
Eliminating standing water and mosquito habitats around your home could help to prevent bites and reduce the risk of disease. Franklin County Public Health offers these tips to control the mosquito population on your property:
• Empty, remove, cover or turn over any container that has the potential to hold water.
• Repair leaky pipes and faucets.
• Make sure gutters and downspouts are free of blockage and are properly draining.
• Change the water in wading pools weekly and store indoor when not in use.
• Properly dispose of old tires.
• Empty planters that hold water twice each week.
• Empty bird baths twice weekly.
• Empty your pet’s watering dishes daily.
• Use sand to plug holes in trees where water can collect.
• Drain or fill low areas on your property that hold water for more than three days.
• Remind or help neighbors to eliminate breeding sites in their property.
Fitzpatrick also encourages anyone going outside around dusk or down to wear long sleeves, long pants and wear insect repellent.
The health department sets about 100 traps each week from mid-May through the end of September.
To report an area of concern in the community, call the Franklin County Public Health mosquito hotline at 614-525-2483 or complete a service request form at www.grovecityohio.gov. For more information about mosquitoes and county’s mosquito program, visit mosquito.myfcph.org.