Mosquito fish already at work in Lassen County
The Lassen County Department of Agriculture released mosquito fish “in nearly 65 acres of local ponds and other large sources of standing water, including Barry Reservoir” last week, according to County Agriculture Commissioner Ken Smith. His staff also treated city storm drains with biological control materials.
Smith said his staff put fish in the ponds at the former Sierra Pacific Mill and treated 219 storm drains in the city of Susanville with 150-day bio-control tablets that will last all season. They also sprayed oil in the tires that hold the pylons at the Lassen County Fairgrounds race track.
“We held back about two dozen mosquito fish and we’re putting them in a trough and we’re going to try to multiply them and see if we can distribute them to people if they multiply fast enough,” Smith told the Board of Supervisors last week. “So, we may have some free mosquito fish that we could distribute maybe at the kid’s fair or the Lassen County Fair also.”
Smith told the board the state cut the county’s funding for educational materials, so he won’t be sending out “Fight the Bite” brochures in water bills. However, he does have information bags to give away at pharmacies.
The state grant awarded in December does allow Smith and his staff to spray pesticides to control mosquitoes in outlying areas “which are so heavily infested with the West Nile,” he told the board when he got the grant.
Eight dead birds from four counties and one dead horse have already tested positive for the sometimes-deadly virus this year, according to westnile.ca.gov.
The program the board approved with the first grant in 2006 will continue. It includes monitoring by trapping larval and adult mosquitoes, larval mosquito control in Susanville and spraying for adult mosquitoes throughout the county when conditions warrant or when trapping indicates the presence of target mosquito populations and WNV.
A county crew conducts spraying at dusk or later at night on predetermined dates using the lowest volume of pesticides that still yield effective control and ultra-low volume techniques.
Pyrethrins are used in rural areas and synthetically produced pyrethroids are used in more populated areas.
The mosquito-eating minnow fish are used to control larval insects “where they will not impact native fish,” Smith said in May 2006. Spraying is only used as a last resort and requires approval by the supervisors.
In late August 2006, the board gave Smith permission to spray pesticides to kill mosquitoes in an area bounded by Mapes Road on the east and south, Standish Buntingville Road on the south, Highway 395 on the west and Center Road on the North. Smith said spraying would occur in the more populated areas around Standish, Litchfield and some fringe areas of Johnstonville and Janesville.
After trapping a high number of culex tarsalis, Smith’s staff sprayed the safest pesticide pyrethroids at the least toxic, lowest effective rate starting at Leavitt Lake.
They also sprayed in Susanville north of Main Street and east of Ash Street. Smith said his staff couldn’t trap enough mosquitoes in Westwood to send a sample to the state for testing.
Once again, Smith will develop call and shutoff lists for those who wish to be notified before spraying occurs near their homes or wish to request their residence not be sprayed. Call 251-8110 for more information about the call and shutoff lists.
Smith said he will announce areas to be sprayed in the local media at least 24 hours in advance.
To protect themselves from the effects of WNV residents may:
•Drain any standing water near their homes.
•Stay indoors at dusk and dawn.
•Wear long, loose-fitting clothes while outdoors.
•Wear insect repellent containing DEET, Picaridin, oil of lemon, Eucalyptus.
•Repair or replace any damaged window or door screens to exclude mosquitoes.
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