By Leslie Radford: CNJ staff writer
When they bite, it itches. But mosquitoes can be more than just annoying. They can also spread disease.
City of Clovis officials are asking for the community’s help in controlling mosquitoes this spring.
While mosquitoes are not an immediate threat in the city, Vector Control Officer Francis Warner wants the public to be aware of the things it can do to control biting mosquitoes.
“Residents can help us out by eliminating any standing water around their homes,” said Warner, indicating items such as bird baths, water troughs, etc. “Anything that has collected water around your home should be dumped. This is a breeding ground for mosquitoes.”
Weed control also keeps the numbers of mosquitoes to a minimum.
“With all the moisture we’ve received lately, weeds can grow out of control and attract mosquitoes,” Warner said.
He said there are a number of chemicals residents can use on the pests that can be bought at local stores. The city, he said, spends several thousand dollars every year to control mosquitoes.
“Last year, we had a budget around $5,000,” he said. “This year it has increased to about $13,000, but that’s still not enough to get them under control so that they are not a nuisance to society.”
Vector control sets out several traps around the city to collect mosquitoes to determine their concentration levels and if any are carrying the potentially deadly West Nile virus.
“Last year, we had three cases of West Nile in humans in the area,” Warner said. “Out of the traps I set last year, none contained infected mosquitoes.”
He said it’s almost impossible to tell whether or not last year’s West Nile victims contracted the disease in this county or elsewhere.
Gayla Jaquess nurse manager with the public health department said there are many diseases a person can contract from mosquitoes, but with mosquito season in this area, West Nile is their first concern.
“You’ll want to use insect repellent with DEET,” she said. “If you have mosquito bites with a fever, see your doctor immediately. This is a sign of West Nile.”
Jaquess said the public health office at 1216 Cameo St. offers free pamphlets with information on protection from mosquitoes.