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Rescheduled: Aerial Mosquito Treatment for Philadelphia

NORRISTOWN, Pa., The Department of Environmental Protection announced today that aerial spraying operations to control large populations of mosquito larvae in Philadelphia have been rescheduled for Thursday, June 7.

The treatments -- VectoLex CG, which is not a chemical pesticide, but is a species-specific bacterial agent that targets mosquito and black fly larvae when added to the water in production areas -- will only be applied in areas where sampling has shown increased levels of mosquitoes.

Beginning around 8 a.m. Thursday, Helicopter Applicators Inc., of Gettysburg, Adams County, will spray VectoLex CG over wetlands in and around the biosolid and wastewater treatment plants operated by Philadelphia near Penrose Ferry Road in the southwest portion of the city. They also will treat wetlands on the east side of the Philadelphia International Airport.

Later in the morning, the applicator will spray wetlands at the city's northeast wastewater treatment plant near the Betsy Ross Bridge.

Certain species of mosquitoes carry West Nile virus, which, when transmitted to people, can cause West Nile encephalitis, an infection that can result in an inflammation of the brain. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, all residents in areas where virus activity has been identified are at risk of getting West Nile encephalitis.

There have been no confirmed human cases of West Nile virus in Pennsylvania this year. Individuals can take a number of measures around the home to help eliminate mosquito-breeding areas, including:

-- Dispose of tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots or similar water-holding containers that have collected on your property.
-- Pay attention to discarded tires. Stagnant water in tires is where most mosquitoes breed.
-- Drill holes in the bottom of recycling containers left outdoors.
-- Have clogged roof gutters cleaned every ye ar, particularly if the leaves from surrounding trees have a tendency to plug the drains. Roof gutters can produce millions of mosquitoes each season.
-- Turn over plastic wading pools when not in use.
-- Turn over wheelbarrows and don't let water stagnate in birdbaths.
-- Aerate ornamental pools or stock them with fish. Clean and chlorinate swimming pools not in use. A swimming pool left untended for a month can produce enough mosquitoes to result in neighborhood-wide complaints. Mosquitoes may even breed in the water that collects on pool covers.
-- For stagnant pools of water, homeowners can buy Bti products at lawn and garden, outdoor supply, home improvement centers and other stores. This naturally occurring bacteria kills mosquito larvae, but is safe for people, pets, aquatic life and plants.

In addition, here are some simple precautions to prevent mosquito bites, particularly for people who are most at risk:

-- Make sure screens fit tightly over doors and windows to keep mosquitoes out of homes.
-- Consider wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants and socks when outdoors, particularly when mosquitoes are most active at dawn and dusk, or in areas known for having large numbers of mosquitoes.
-- When possible, reduce outdoor exposure at dawn and dusk during peak mosquito periods, usually April through October.
-- Use insect repellents according to the manufacturer's instructions. An effective repellent will contain DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus. Consult with a pediatrician or family physician if you have questions about the use of repellent on children, as repellent is not recommended for children under the age of two months.


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