Prepare for a major mosquito outbreak soon.
It’s time to stock up on Deet-based spray and repellent candles. Northeastern Ohio’s mosquitos are on the verge of a population explosion.
However, scientists in Wooster say they have found a new way to kill mosquitoes — without harming the environment — by targeting the bug’s kidneys.
Local health departments report despite Stark County’s warm days, the chilly spells and nights have delayed the usual mid-summer outbreak. Frost in late May stopped the first swarm of the season.
But, rain-soaked and flooded areas are primed for warm nights and hot days that will spark full-scale hatching. Couple this with a nearly extinct bat population — killed the last two years by a fungal infection — and entomologists are warning to expect the worst this season.
WEST NILE REPORT
As of July 12, there have been no reports of West Nile virus spread to humans by mosquitoes in Ohio, according to the U.S. Department of the Interior. Some cases have been reported in West Virginia.
Last year, Ohio saw 121 West Nile cases and 12 deaths. The mosquitoes arrived early that year with a wet and warm spring.
Ohio Department of Health no longer tests mosquitoes for West Nile Virus. Its $265,000 yearly program halted in April after Federal cutbacks eliminated funding, according to the department’s Tessie Pollock.
- The Weather Channel’s daily mosquito outlook places Stark County in the moderate zone, meaning “conditions may keep some mosquitoes at bay.”
- Governments release their spraying schedules 3 to 5 days beforehand. The Stark County schedule can be found at www.starkhealth.org. The Canton Health Department sprays neighborhoods from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m.
- Health sanitarians also work with property owners to remove standing water. They will apply larvacide to mosquito-harboring water.
- In case of rain or colds, spraying will be postponed. Persons with respiratory ailments should stay indoors and beekeepers should cover their hives.
At Ohio State University’s Agricultural Research and Development Center in Wooster, researchers are working on a new way to control mosquitoes without using current pesticides. A chemical that causes kidney failure only in the insects is proving effective and will help limit mosquito-borne diseases including West Nile, malaria and dengue fever.
“It interferes with a class of mosquito proteins which compromise the ability to excrete urine,” said Peter Piermarini, assistant professor of entomology at the Wooster campus.
“We may discover a new generation of insecticides for controlling resistant mosquitoes and the spread of diseases,” he said.
Piermarini said the need for new mosquito killers is urgent. The insects are becoming resistant to current insecticides.
“Malaria is killing close to 1 million people every year and dengue infects hundreds of millions of people annually,” he said.
Page 2 of 2 - Reach Jim at 330-580-8324 or email@example.com.
On Twitter: @jhillibishREP