The Orange County Mosquito and Vector Control District CANCLED their plans to conduct aerial applications to reduce adult mosquitoes and suppress the spread of West Nile Virus over the cities of Orange, Tustin, Villa Park and portions of Anaheim, Fountain Valley, Garden Grove, Santa Ana and Stanton.
The applications were CANCELLED and no new schedule has been provided.
Following are answers to some common questions about the virus culled from Orange County Vector Control District and from Fountain Valley Mayor Pro Tem Cheryl Brothers, who serves on the Orange County Vector Control District Board of Directors.
What is the West Nile Virus and why is the threat higher than usual?
West Nile Virus is a bird disease primarily but it is carried by mosquitoes. It causes encephalitis in horses, which can be fatal, and West Nile Virus in humans. The threat is increased because of high temperatures, high mosquito abundance, a high West Nile Virus infection rate in mosquitoes, multiple clusters of WNV-positive dead birds, and five reported human cases at this time.
What chemical is being used?
The treatment will be made using Duet, a mosquito control product registered for use by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and routinely used throughout California and the United States to help control adult mosquito populations.
Prior to registering a product, the EPA evaluates products thoroughly to be sure there is a “reasonable certainty of no harm” to humans, animals and the environment from their use. Duet is applied in very low dosages --roughly a tablespoon to treat an area the size of a football field and it dissipates quickly.
Why is aerial treatment necessary?
Mosquitoes are being tested in huge numbers in these cities and Vector Control does not want a repeat of last year (eight deaths). Once mosquitos reach these epidemic proportions the only control is direct spraying and the only way to get it across a wide area is aerial. Once mosquitos reach these epidemic proportions the only control is direct spraying and the only way to get it across a wide area is aerial.
Is that the only way the insecticide is being applied?
Orange County has developed a new technique of spraying through the holes of manhole covers in streets, which leads to the larger distribution areas. With the current drought, the system is not being flushed. There is still water standing throughout Orange County. Vector Control has been treating those standing water sites since spring. And the warm weather isn’t helping.
Is this a danger to my family or my pets?
There is no need to stay indoors, cover outdoor pet food or replace outdoor water in bowls, ponds and water features, though residents certainly are free to do so. There also is no requirement to cover cars or wash down outdoor play equipment.
However, the insecticide is toxic to other insects so beekeepers and those with insects kept outdoors are encouraged to shelter hives and habitats during spraying operations.
For exact spraying locations, see the OC Vector Control website at www.ocvcd.org. You can type in your address and find out if your neighborhood will be in the spray area.
Residents concerned about the application or needing more information are invited to call the district’s Aerial Application Hotline at (714) 971-2421, Ext. 395