Valley crews resume battle against West Nile Virus

FRESNO, Calif.

The fight against West Nile Virus has been focused on backyard sources. Mosquitoes can not only ruin your picnic, they can also carry disease.

The growing mosquito problem is reflected in the number of calls to spray areas of standing water. Bacteria in the spray can kill larvae living in gutter water or other small pools.

Fresno Mosquito and Vector Control District Manager Tim Phillips said the combination of a very wet season followed by warm weather makes for a bad year. Phillips explained, "The heat always brings more mosquitoes. There's more water, there's more mosquitoes and the ones we're concerned about, the West Nile mosquitoes."

People spending time outdoors have been complaining about those biting mosquitoes.

Assistant Manager Gary Byde looked over brand new aerial photos of the Fresno area. They revealed several green, neglected pools. Byde said, "We can zoom right on it. It's been a great tool. A lot of these homes are vacant."

Crews can then drop by the homes and treat the murky green water.

Byde said a typical pool can produce over 10-thousand mosquitoes in a single day.

A chemical spray kept larvae from taking in air at the surface and the release of mosquito fish began a flurry of activity as they ate everything in sight. But foreclosed homes aren't the only ones with green pools. Some homeowners let their pools go green during the winter to save on PG&E and chemical costs. "I know people are sometimes embarrassed but we understand about pools. We see thousands of these a year."

If you have a pond at home the district will provide mosquito fish free of charge.

It is important to empty buckets or other outdoor containers with water which could house mosquito larvae.

To report a problem pool or to request mosquito fish call the district at 268-6565.

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