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We must do our part
War on mosquitoes must be fought by us all
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 On Wednesday, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment reported the first case of west Nile virus in Kansas for 2015. The individual that tested positive is an adult from Lincoln County, that’s not all that far from here.

West Nile virus can be spread to people through bites from infected mosquitoes. There are an abundance of mosquitoes around following this soggy spring and early summer, increasing the likelihood of this disease becoming a problem. 

Sure, the cities of Great Bend and Hoisington have announced aggressive plans to spray for the pesky insects. But, the chemicals sprayed only kill those it comes in contact with, those that are already hatched.

The rest is at least partially up to us. 

Mosquitoes lay their eggs in still water, and with so much standing water in an area after the recent rains, the mosquito population will rise with the increased number of nurseries. Now that we have had significant rain event, there is standing water in many places just waiting for a female to lay her eggs.

This is where we come into the picture.

The most effective method of controlling mosquito populations is targeting the larval stage and the sites where they can develop, Once mosquitoes become flying adults, the use of trucks and sprays is more difficult and expensive.

We need to do what we can to eliminate standing water in their yards and gardens. Water can pool in buckets, birdbaths, stumps, plastic boat tarps and elsewhere, or just about anywhere.

West Nile virus cases are most common in the late summer and early fall months. Through mosquito surveillance conducted in Sedgwick County, the KDHE has seen an increase in mosquitoes that can spread West Nile Virus and therefore it is not surprising to see a case this early in the summer. In 2014, there were 54 cases of West Nile virus in Kansas, some were even lethal.  

We can dowse ourselves in repellent with DEET and limit our outside activities between dusk and dawn. But, if we truly want to reclaim the great outdoors from these nasty invaders, then we must enter the fray and do our part.

Dale Hogg