Mosquito counts low, spraying ended in July | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Mosquito counts low, spraying ended in July

Amanda Fehd

With pest spraying ending for the most part last month, mosquito count numbers are down in South Shore compared to last year, an El Dorado County official said Monday.

“We have not had many complaints regarding mosquitoes (in South Shore),” said Virginia Huber, spokeswoman for the El Dorado County Environmental Management.

“If people are seeing mosquitoes, they need to call us and let us know,” Huber said.

The department reported last week that a bird in South Lake Tahoe was found infected with West Nile virus, which causes death in humans in rare instances. So far this year, eight Californians have died of the disease this year. Last year, 28 died in this state, the highest in the nation.

About 95 percent of the pest control program here involves killing larva in standing water during spring. Huber attributed the success of that program for the decreased number of mosquitoes now. Late cold spells through the summer also served to slow their reproduction.

The department does not perform aerial spraying, Huber said. Spraying during June and July is conducted from an all-terrain vehicle, using an “ultra-low volume” sprayer to ensure the pesticide stays within the area sprayed.

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The pesticides have no known affects on humans, Huber said.

The burden now lies on homeowners to make sure flower pots, bird baths and other containers are drained at least once a week.

“Our concern now is primarily backyard sources,” said Huber. “Our natural sources have dried up, but man-made sources can continue the growth of those mosquitoes.”

People should still take precaution against the pests to prevent the threat of West Nile virus, she said.

The mosquito abatement district which covers most of Douglas County on the Nevada side doesn’t cover the Tahoe area because residents do not pay property taxes into the program. Mosquitoes were sprayed for last year under special circumstances, said Lisa Granahan, assistant to Douglas County Manager Dan Holler.

A phone call to the program was not returned as of press time.

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