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Article - West Nile Virus

West Nile Virus

How to protect agains mosquitoes

We’ve been reading a report by http://WestNile.ca.gov (California West Nile Virus Website) and seeing the numbers of people affected is appalling.  They reported  hundreds of human cases in  23 counties, with several fatalities so far.  They show more than 50 counties affected by West Nile Virus.  This is very distressing news!  It should also be distressing for pond owners… since everyone is looking suspiciously at any bodies of water as potential breeding sites.  With more than 673 positive mosquito samples, in many  counties, collected by the government workers, how serious is this to you?  Is your government throwing tax dollars in the millions at this problem, with little measurable success?  So, in addition to being distressing it is also very frustrating.

            EVERYONE should be using larvacides on their property.  There are natural Bti larvacides that will not build up in the soil layers, as chemicals will, and are very effective in eliminating the growing mosquito larva.  Some are EPA registered and safe for fish, pets, and other wildlife.  Chemicals will leave a residue that builds up over time and does not break down.  Bti can be prepared and applied with a sprayer, so why are the governments not using it?  Mosquito Dunks and Microbe-Lift/BMC both contain the Bti bacteria.  The liquid should be used as a spray to cover all areas of your yard, including potted plants (and the pond).

            Do mosquitoes only breed in standing water?  No, they will breed in any moist area, flower pot tray or bird bath.  I’ve found the larvae in my vortex filters where the fish do not go.  If you look closely, very closely, you can most likely find them in and around your water lilies too.  They will cling to the bottoms of the lily pads and stems until disturbed.  Fish will not eat them once they are large enough to eat regular pellets.  Mosquitoes simply do not provide enough protein, so the fish don’t even bother.  So, just because you have fish in the pond is no assurance of no having mosquitoes hatching from your pond.  Look around the edges of the pond and in amongst the rocks that line the pond.  You will find them.  Use the Bti and get rid of them in 12-24 hours, before they hatch to fly off in search of food.  

The “heat is on” for pond owners in California and beyond right now!