Recent rains and warmer temperatures have created ideal conditions for the return of pesky mosquitoes to our area. Decreasing the population of nuisance pests and preventing related disease outbreaks that can be transmitted by infected insects are the goals of the St. Charles County Division of Environmental Health and Protection’s mosquito control program. In addition to its efforts, the division offers recommendations to residents for protecting themselves from these insects.
As mosquitoes require seven to 14 days of still water for development, the most effective tool in minimizing populations is to eliminate potential breeding grounds. To help in these efforts around your home, division staff recommends residents:
- Fill in or drain areas where water may stand for more than one week
- Empty watering cans, wading pools and other water containers after using
- Completely seal cesspools and screen all vents
- Clean clogged roof gutters and drain flat roofs so no water stays
- Cover all standing receptacles, such as rain barrels in rural areas, with netting
- Stock garden pools and ponds with small fish or aerate them to disrupt the water surface
- Tilt wheelbarrows and machines with containers to prevent holding water
St. Charles County’s mosquito control program is primarily a need-driven process, meaning we treat areas when surveillance systems or residents notify the division that mosquitoes are a problem. Staff targets habitat areas to control larvae before they develop and treats adult populations with small amounts of insecticide to reduce the number of adult insects.
The program contracts with several municipalities to minimize mosquito populations in their communities. Residents living in unincorporated St. Charles County or within the city limits of Augusta, Cottleville, Dardenne Prairie, Flint Hill, Lake Saint Louis, Portage des Sioux, Weldon Spring, Weldon Spring Heights and Wentzville, who are concerned about nuisance mosquitoes in their area, should visit http://www.sccmo.org/959/Vector-Mosquito-Control or contact the mosquito control program at (636) 949-1800 to request assistance. Those within the city limits of O’Fallon, St. Charles and St. Peters should contact their respective city halls regarding mosquito abatement efforts.
While the health department’s efforts may reduce the number of mosquitoes in the community, individuals must take personal responsibility to protect themselves and their families. Residents can discourage mosquitoes from biting by using an insect repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, IR3535, or oil of lemon eucalyptus whenever outdoors. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outside. For additional tips on preventing insect bites, please visit http://www.cdc.gov/features/StopMosquitoes/.