This summer, the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department plans to control mosquito populations in the community with an increased focus on eliminating standing water and preventing mosquito larvae from hatching. This includes free mosquito larvicide, available by visiting the Environmental Health Office on the second floor of the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department, 650 Newtown Pike, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Supplies are limited. Educational materials will be provided.
The department will also use mosquito trapping to identify areas where spraying adult mosquitoes would be most helpful. The health department surveyed neighborhoods in Lexington to identify and treat large areas of standing water that may serve as prime locations for mosquitoes to lay their eggs. Removing standing water is the ultimate goal, but in places where puddles exist, the water can be treated to kill mosquito larvae with a chemical called larvicide.
“We are increasing activities to kill mosquito larvae in areas where standing water cannot be drained,” said LFCHD environmental health and preparedness team leader Luke Mathis. “Targeting immature mosquitoes is a more effective control strategy because it prevents mosquitoes from developing into adults that can feed on humans and transmit mosquito-borne diseases like Zika and West Nile.”
The health department will no longer conduct routine spraying of adult mosquitoes citywide on a regular cycle. Instead, mosquito traps will be placed in potential problem areas. If a certain threshold of mosquito activity is reached, the department will carry out targeted spraying in the appropriate areas. These areas will be announced through the Department of Health‘s website, www.lfchd.org, and social media pages.
For spraying, the health department uses Duet, an EPA-approved agent that contains a component that stimulates mosquitoes resting in trees and foliage, causing them to fly through the air and come into contact with the agent. mosquito repellent spray, sumithrin. Duet has been rigorously tested for human and animal safety and is registered for residential and outdoor recreational areas.
Lexington residents can also take steps at home to control mosquitoes:
● Protect your home and garden against mosquitoes. Attach or install window and door screens. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water. Cover or dispose of empty containers of standing water. Limit the number of places around your home where mosquitoes can breed by getting rid of items such as tires, buckets, barrels, and cans. Refresh the water in your pet’s water bowls and birdbaths at least every five to seven days.
● Be aware of periods of peak mosquito activity. Twilight hours around dusk and dawn are times of peak mosquito activity. Use insect repellent when outdoors, especially during peak activity times, including the early morning hours. Look for EPA-labeled repellents that contain active ingredients, such as DEET, picaridin (KBR3023), or oil of lemon eucalyptus (p-menthane 3,8-diol). Apply the repellent according to the directions on the label. Weather permitting, wear long sleeves, long pants and socks outside. Mosquitoes can bite through thin clothing, so spraying clothing with a repellent containing permethrin or another EPA-registered repellent helps prevent bites.
“The battle against mosquitoes begins in every residence in Fayette County,” Mathis said. “By removing standing water, even something as small as a rain plug in your garden, you can remove areas where mosquitoes can lay their eggs. It’s important for people to walk around their house to see what they can do to help reduce the mosquito population.
To report a standing water problem in your neighborhood, please call the Environmental Health Section of the Health Department at (859) 231-9791.