County hears the buzz on mosquito control
When it comes to disease prevention and mosquito control, Washington County is covered.
A Metropolitan Mosquito Control District official on Feb. 12 retraced last year's activity and presented an overview of the 2013 program to the Washington County Board of Commissioners.
A report presented at the meeting touched on efforts to control the West Nile Virus in the seven-county metro area.
"We're doing a very effective job in reducing the virus in the metropolitan area," said Jim Stark, executive director for the Metropolitan Mosquito Control District.
He said 5,207 West Nile Virus cases were reported nationwide with 234 fatalities.
The majority came from Texas, while only 15 were reported in Minnesota.
Of those, just one was from Washington County, he said.
He credits the process the district uses in controlling the immature mosquitos while they develop in wetland areas.
Spraying is necessary when they enter the adult stage to kill the mosquitos so they don't become an annoyance during the summer, Stark added.
Those insects carrying the West Nile Virus catch it from birds and then carry it to humans and horses, he said.
Not all of them carry the virus, Stark said, and it may be noticeable in some areas more than others.
A sign of where it's detected is unusual bird behavior, he said, advising residents who notice either that or bird death in their yards to contact the agency.
Stark said the Metropolitan Mosquito Control District appreciates when residents notify the agency of any suspected West Nile Virus locations so it's entered in the database.
His presentation concluded with commissioners asking questions and commending the district on its efforts.
Dist. 2 Commissioner Ted Bearth said with festivities going on in Oakdale over the summer, he's noticed the difference.
"I don't think I've been bitten more than five times," he said with a smile.
Stark said those efforts will continue.
"We'll continue to work hard in reducing the disease and make summers more enjoyable for residents," he said.