The return of warmer weather doesn’t always mean hours of blissful outdoor fun–it also brings out biting pests like mosquitos. Not only can they ruin your summer evenings, but they also carry the threat of dangerous diseases.
The St. Charles County Department of Public Health’s Mosquito Control program is working to decrease mosquito populations by monitoring habitats to control larvae before they become full-grown, biting pests and reducing adult populations with small amounts of insecticide.
The mosquito-transmitted Zika virus has been connected to serious birth defects. However, those cases were reported by travelers to the Caribbean, Central America, and South America. None were locally transmitted.
West Nile virus, however, has been found in the United States, although cases of infection in humans are rare. Since 2010, St. Charles County has recorded only five local cases. According to a St. Charles County Department of Public Health press release, “only about 20 percent of those infected with the West Nile virus display the common symptoms — which include fever, headache, body ache, vomiting and rash — and fewer than one percent of those infected individuals develop more serious complications, such as brain or spinal inflammation.”
The St. Charles Department of Public Health offers these guidelines to protect against mosquito bites:
- Use insect repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, IR 3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus when outdoors
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants
- Stay indoors during early-morning and evening hours when mosquito activity is at its peak
Mosquito larvae requires seven to 14 days of still water for development. The Division of Environmental Health and Protection encourages residents to drain areas where water settles, to clean clogged gutters and to “disrupt” places with standing water like fountains, ponds or bird baths in order to eliminate breeding grounds.
Residents of unincorporated St. Charles County or within the cities of Augusta, Cottleville, Dardenne Prairie, Flint Hill, Lake Saint Louis, Portage des Sioux, Weldon Spring, Weldon Spring Heights and Wentzville (cities that contract with St. Charles County for mosquito abatement services) should contact the County with concerns about problem areas.
Residents of O’Fallon, St. Charles and St. Peters can contact their respective city governments regarding mosquito abatement efforts.