April is time to Fight the Bite

Hurricane Florence, the nation’s second-rainiest storm in the last 70 years, has left in its wake a considerable amount of standing water in central and southeastern North Carolina. Flood conditions and warm temperatures make those areas prime breeding grounds for numerous species of mosquitos.

Fortunately, the population of mosquitos that has emerged following the storm here in Moore County and surrounding areas do not transmit human disease, and thusly, pose no serious public health threat.

Last week, Governor Roy Cooper ordered that $4 million be distributed to fund mosquito control efforts in counties currently under a major disaster declaration. Moore County, along with 26 other NC counties, was part of that declaration.

Following the Governor’s order, Moore County Government officials met with representatives from the various Moore County municipalities and determined that the County will not pursue any form of mass mosquito pesticide spraying efforts. Instead, Moore County’s funding allocation will be used to purchase and distribute mosquito “dunks” for residents to use individually on their property at no cost to them.

This will be in conjunction with a countywide educational campaign centered on personal protective measures against mosquitos. Mosquito dunks are products designed to attack mosquitos in their developmental stages, more specifically in the larvae stage, and are very effective at killing them in a short amount of time.

A mosquito dunk works by being inserted into an area of standing water, where it floats on the surface and slowly releases a special bacterium, which mosquito larvae eat. This bacterium kills mosquito larvae of all known mosquito species but is safe for humans and animals, including birds, frogs, and fish.

The dunks then offer long-term protection and kill larvae for up to 30 days.

In the coming weeks, when mosquito dunks become available, the Moore County Health Department will notify residents of points of distribution throughout the County where they can pick up their household’s mosquito dunks along with educational materials free of charge.

In the meantime, residents are encouraged to take precautions that will help them to control the mosquito population and avoid mosquito bites:

Remove Mosquito Habitats:

~ Eliminate standing water in rain gutters, old tires, buckets, plastic covers, toys, or any other container where mosquitos can breed.
~ Empty and change the water in bird baths, fountains, wading pools, rain barrels, and potted plant trays at least once a week to destroy potential mosquito habitats.
~Drain or fill temporary pools of water with dirt.
~ Keep swimming pool water treated and circulating.

Avoid Getting Bitten:

~ Keep mosquitos away from exposed skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and socks.
~ Tuck shirts into pants and pants into socks to cover gaps in your clothing where mosquitos can get to your skin.
~ Use EPA-registered mosquito repellents when necessary and follow label directions and precautions closely.
~ Be aware of peak mosquito hours – the hours from dusk to dawn are peak biting times for many mosquitos.

Once the health department receives the dunks, they will coordinate with all the municipalities and distribute them to different points throughout the county such as fire departments, police departments, and town halls.  All a resident has to do is stop by the closest distribution location and pick one up for their household.

Please call the Environmental Health Division at the Moore County Health Department at 910-947-6283 for any dunk inquiries.

For additional mosquito control tips and further information on safe mosquito repellant use, visit the Moore County Health Department website at www.moorecountync.gov/health. For continuous Moore Health Department news and updates, follow the Health Department on Facebook (MOCO Health) and Twitter (@mocohealth).

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