Berks County Mosquito-borne Disease Control Program surveillance and control activities begin in April and end in September of every year.
The Mosquito-Borne Disease Control Program is designed to reduce the risk of WNV and uses an Integrated Mosquito Management (IMM) strategy that includes education, surveillance, mosquito habitat reduction, natural controls, and application of larval and adult mosquito treatments. The Mosquito-Borne Disease Control Program program runs from early April to early October, which coincides with the active mosquito season. Beginning in June, increased surveillance for the Asian Tiger Mosquito will be implemented. This mosquito has the capability of carrying and transferring ZIKA Virus. Follow procedures in order to reduce standing water and the habitat these mosquitoes need to breed.
What You Can Do To Help?
Helping to prevent the spread of WNV is as simple as eliminating standing water from around your house and yard. Simple steps, such as eliminating household items that can collect water, can greatly reduce the potential risk of West Nile Virus in your area. Old buckets, toys, tarps, and tires all hold enough water to keep mosquitoes alive and developing right under your nose. Remember to keep rain gutters clear and check birdbaths, flowerpots, and wading pools. The best and most effective way to prevent mosquitoes from breeding is to take care of your own house and yard. Following these practices takes away the environment the mosquito larvae need to live and grow – STAGNANT WATER! Reducing these breeding habitats helps to protect you and your family.
*REMEMBER: WATER SITTING LONGER THAN 4 DAYS CAN PRODUCE MOSQUITOES!*
Any questions regarding the Mosquito-Borne Disease Control Program in Berks County can be directed to the Program Coordinator at 610-372-4657 Ext. 212.
In 1999, West Nile Virus (WNV) was detected for the first time in the United States in New York City. This led to the startup of a multi-agency network for WNV surveillance and prevention in Pennsylvania. The Berks County Conservation District has participated in the state-funded Mosquito-Borne Disease Control Program since 2000 when Pennsylvania started its program. WNV was first detected in Pennsylvania in 2000 and in Berks County in 2001.
Mosquito traps are set at over 150 sites across the county, including wastewater treatment plants, storm-water basins, recreational areas, and private residences. Samples are processed and species are identified, and vector species are tested for West Nile virus. To suppress populations of both vector and nuisance mosquitoes, technicians reduce mosquito habitat when possible. Larvicide and adulticide products are used after all other measures have been taken.
The following products are most commonly used by Mosquito-Borne Disease Control Program staff:
Dead Bird Monitoring
Dead birds should be reported to the Berks County Conservation District’s Mosquito-Borne Disease Control Program Coordinator at (610) 372-4657 Ext. 212 or click on the following link: Dead Bird Reporting Form
Birds can be collected for WNV testing, from May 1 through October 1. If you are interested in submitting a dead bird for testing, call your Mosquito-Borne Disease Control Program Coordinator to see if they are still accepting submissions and for instructions on how and where to submit.
- Only crows, jays, hawks, and owls are accepted for WNV testing.
- Birds must be dead less than 48 hours with no obvious signs of trauma.
- Place ice packs on top of bird and place a bucket over it, until it can be submitted. Do not freeze the specimen.
- Avoid bare-hand contact when handling dead birds. Use rubber gloves when handling a dead bird. If you do not have gloves, insert your hand into a plastic bag, grasp the bird carefully and invert the bag over the bird. Each bird should be placed in a tied plastic bag, and then placed inside a second tied bag.
- If you are not submitting the bird for testing, the bagged bird can be placed in the trash.
Source: Crow (www.allaboutbirds.org) Blue Jay (www.conservationcubclub.com) Owl (www.seattleaudubon.org)
For more information regarding WNV, dead bird reports, and pesticide use, check out some of these helpful websites:
PA Department of Health 1-(877)-PA-HEALTH (724-3258)