Yesterday there was an article in the Herald-Palladium that discussed ‘5 Ds’ to decrease West Nile Virus. The article brings to light some interesting facts, but some of it seems misinformed.
While we certainly respect Mr. Johansen and the Health Department’s position, there are some sad facts that don’t make their “5 D’s” realistic. However, first there are some facts in the story that are simply not true. First, West Nile is spread by mosquitoes after they are infected from taking a blood meal from a bird that is infected by West Nile. Second, the cases of West Nile are more concentrated in urban areas because there are simply more people. There have been 6 deaths in Michigan this year, the latest being in Kent County (closer to here then people want to believe). Lastly, the mosquitoes are not attracted to stagnant water, they lay eggs in these places, creating more mosquitos. This can be as small as a bottle cap, which can hold the larvae of up to 300 mosquitoes. These are everywhere and not limited to Urban areas. Mosquitoes are attracted to carbon dioxide that is put off by living sources, people and animals.
There 5D’s are fun, but saying it is better to spray a child or anyone with deet rather than spraying an insecticide to kill the mosquitoes seems to be contrary to what the Health Department would stand for. I would offer the following that people can follow to eliminate Mosquitoes and the threat of West Nile from their yard. Mosquito Squad has called it the 5T’s for years. They are:
1. TIP – Reduce the standing water to elimiate mosquito threats, including those in children’s sandboxes, wagons or plastic toys, underneath and around downspouts, in plant saucers and dog bowls. Other hot spots include tarps, gutters and flat roofs.
2. TOSS – Remove excess grass, leaves, firewood, trash and clippings from yards.
3. TURN – Turn over larger yard items that could hold water like children’s portable sandboxes or plastic toys.
4. TARPS – Remove tarps that are stretched over firewood piles, boats or sports equipment. When they are not taut, they’re holding water.
5. TREAT – Utilize a mosquito elimination barrier treatment around the home and yard. Using a barrier treatment at home reduces the need for using DEET-containing bug spray on the body. Mosquito Squad eliminates up to 90% of the mosquitoes and ticks on a property. Mosquito Squad can also treat standing water (that you want to keep), such as Bird baths, decorative water ponds with KOI fish, so the larvae can not survive in these enjoyable yard features.
With the 5 T’s you can enjoy your back yard, even when the sun goes down, you don’t have to wear long clothes when it is 90 degrees, your windows can be open for fresh air and you certainly don’t have to put DEET or other skin irritants on your children.