As the number of mosquitoes potentially carrying the West Nile virus doubles each week, Ada County officials are taking action to stop the threat.
An aerial larvacide application will start Tuesday, covering specific areas Eagle and Eagle Island, Boise and Star, depending on weather conditions. Flights to conduct the aerial application will run late in the evening.
The number of Culex mosquitoes – which carry and transmit West Nile – is doubling each week in some areas and quadrupling despite county control efforts. This year’s flooding created substantially more standing water than previous years, increasing the threat of mosquitoes.
Last week, mosquito traps in Canyon and Payette counties both tested positive for the West Nile virus.
“For the county, protecting public health and safety is our biggest concern,” said Ada County Commission Chairman David Case in a news release. “We need to get ahead of this situation and be proactive in working to keep mosquito numbers down, and keep West Nile Virus out of our county as long as possible.”
Ada County said Monday that the pesticide being used, Dibrom Concentrate, and the larviciding aerial application, using the pesticide Vectoprime, are both federally regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency.
The products are proven to be safe for use in heavily-populated areas and are not harmful to humans, pets or beneficial insects, such as bees, according to the county. The EPA’s website does outline the safety of those pesticides’ key ingredients, assuring safety though studies done, at epa.gov/mosquitocontrol.
Residents with home gardens are encouraged to wash produce only as they normally would before consumption.
“We must take a proactive approach and address this threat with an aerial application so we can significantly reduce the mosquito numbers, and slow the progression of Culex mosquitoes in our area before the situation turns reactive from positive (West Nile virus) human cases,” said Brian Wilbur Director of Ada County Weed, Pest and Mosquito Abatement, in a news release.
After conducting an aerial application in 2013, seven people in Ada County were reported to have been infected with West Nile that year. There were 40 cases statewide.
Those numbers are a drop from 2006, when Idaho led the nation with almost 1,000 West Nile infections, with more than 250 in Ada County. It contributed to 23 deaths statewide.