If there are any questions on mosquito fogging or city ordinances, call Street Superintendent James Giles at 620-793-4150.
Health questions can also be addressed by calling the Barton County Health Department at 620-793-1902.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides this web page with additional information about West Nile virus and preventing mosquito bites at cdc.gov/features/StopMosquitoes/.
Mosquito and virus info can also be found at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment website at kdheks.gov/epi/case_reports_by_county.htm.
It’s a bird.
It’s a plane.
No, it’s a mosquito.
In case anyone hasn’t noticed, there is water around, a lot of water around. Now, the rainfall and flooding are creating a breeding paradise for crawling and flying critters hell bent on sucking our blood.
“We have a lot of standing water out there now,” Great Bend Public Works Director Simon Wiley said. “Mosquitoes are starting to become a problem.”
Fear not, the city is going on the offensive. Public works will begin mosquito fogging this week, he said. The fogging will start at 8 p.m. until midnight, weather permitting, staring this Thursday.
The fogging will continue on Thursday nights as long a needed, he said. They will monitor conditions continually to make their determinations.
Residents are advised to keep their doors and windows closed during this time.
But, he said there are things folks can do to help as well. “With all the rain we’ve been having during the past few days, we need to make sure and empty all standing water.”
Why standing water? Stagnant water in anything from a swimming pool to an empty pop can provide ideal breeding ground for the Culex mosquito, the nasty bug that carries the potentially lethal West Nile and Zika viruses.
“Make sure you have trash and refuse picked up, as well as any discarded tires,” he said. These can all hold water and become mosquito motels.
And, Wiley said, if anyone has a neighbor with piles of trash and tires, they can call the city and a citation can be issued.
A bigger issue
“West Nile and Zika viruses are pretty big players,” said Barton County Health Director Shelly Schneider. Both can cause aches and a fever, and West Nile is potentially deadly.
She suggested the following:
• When you are outdoors, use insect repellent containing an Environmental Protection Agency-registered active ingredient on skin and clothing, including DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535. Follow the directions on the package.
• Many mosquitoes are most active at dusk and dawn. Be sure to use insect repellent and wear long sleeves and pants at these times or consider staying indoors during these hours.
• The elderly or those with a weakened immune system should consider limiting their exposure outside during dusk and dawn when the Culex species mosquitoes are most active.
• Make sure you have good screens on your windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out.
According to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, there are also tablets known as larvicide. These can be purchased at most home improvement stores.
The KDHE provides aid-to-local funding to the three local health departments that participate in its mosquito surveillance program (Sedgwick, Reno, and Shawnee). They may choose to use this funding to purchase larvicide to distribute to their communities.
But, this about more than mosquitoes, Schneider said. “With all the rainfall, it has made a better breading ground for ticks.”
The also carry diseases. If a person is bitten, she suggests writing it down in case strange symptoms occur at a later date, as this will help doctors with their diagnosis.
In addition, “there are more animals displaced by the high water,” she said. They may be in places people are not used to seeing them, and they may be carrying such illnesses as rabies.