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Free Minnows And Dunks To Prevent West Nile Virus

To prevent mosquitoes from multiplying, the Westchester County Health Department will give away another 200 pounds of fathead minnows this Friday and Saturday, to residents who have ponds or water features.  

The Health Department distributed 250 pounds of the tiny baitfish to 89 people earlier this month. Along with the minnows, the Department will share mosquito dunks and other strategies to prevent the spread of mosquito-borne diseases like West Nile Virus.

Ornamental ponds that lack fish offer mosquitoes an ideal breeding spot. Fathead minnows eat mosquito larvae and pupae, which stops them from maturing into biting adults. Dunks also stop mosquito development in birdbaths, rain barrels and unused pools.

Residents who plan to pick up minnows should bring a bucket or pail to hold the watertight plastic bag of minnows the County will provide. To keep them viable, residents should bring them straight home and release them immediately into ponds with at least eight inches of water.

Sherlita Amler, MD, Commissioner of Health, said: “Don’t be a mosquito’s next meal. If you have a pond, add some fathead minnows.  You can also prevent mosquitoes from breeding in your yard by keeping your gutters clear and removing buckets, pails and toys that collect standing water.  After it rains tip the water out of flower pot saucers, and check your yard for standing water.”

Large areas of standing water on public property that cannot easily be removed should be reported to the Health Department at (914) 813-5000.

 

The Westchester County Department of Health reminds residents to dump out standing water on their property after it rains, and to use insect repellents when outdoors in the early morning and late afternoon to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes that could carry West Nile Virus.

People only get West Nile Virus when they are bitten by a mosquito that has bitten an infected bird. To protect our community, we are asking residents to help reduce the mosquito population.

To help eliminate mosquito breeding grounds:

  • Remove common backyard mosquito sources such as old tires, buckets, wheelbarrows, toys and other items from your property that can collect water.
  • Cover outdoor trash containers to keep rainwater from accumulating inside
  • Drill holes in the bottoms of recycling containers that are left outdoors.
  • Drain water in birdbaths, plant pots and drip trays twice a week.
  • Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, outdoor saunas and hot tubs. Keep them empty and covered if not in use; drain water that collects on pool covers.
  • Residents who notice large areas of standing water on public property should report this to the Westchester County Department of Health at (914) 813-5000.

To reduce your risk of mosquito bites:

  • Avoid being outdoors in places and during times where and when mosquitoes are active and feeding.
  • Cover exposed skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
  • Use EPA-registered insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE), or IR3535. Always use as directed and wash treated skin with soap and water after returning indoors.
    • Pregnant and breastfeeding women can use all EPA-registered insect repellents, including DEET, according to the product label.
    • Most repellents, including DEET, can be used on children aged >2 months.
    • Insect repellent use and safety (CDC)
  • Use permethrin-treated clothing and gear (such as boots, pants, socks, and tents). You can buy pre-treated clothing and gear or treat them yourself.
  • Stay and sleep in screened-in or air-conditioned rooms.
  • Make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens and repair or replace screens that have tears or holes.

 

   West Nile Virus Positive Mosquito Batches 2018
 
Municipality

Number of Positive

Mosquito Batches

Date (s)

Collected

Yonkers 1 July 24, 2018
Yonkers 1 July 25, 2018
White Plains 1 August 9, 2018
Mount Vernon 1 August 21, 2018
Rye Brook 1 August 21, 2018
White Plains 1 August 21, 2018
Mamaroneck 1 August 28, 2018
Mamaroceck 1 September 5, 2018
Yonkers 1 September 5, 2018
Chappaqua 1 September 9, 2018
     
     

  

   West Nile Virus Positive Mosquito Batches 2017
 
 Municipality

Number of Positive
Mosquito Batches

 Date (s)
Collected

Mt. Vernon 1 July 18, 2017
Yonkers 1 July 25, 2017
Yonkers 1 August 16, 2017
Yonkers 1 August 24, 2017
Yonkers 1 September 12, 2017

 

Want to learn more about mosquito activity and prevention in Westchester County? Read our report Mosquito Control and Surveillance 1999-2017.

Dead birds

The United States Department of Agriculture and the Westchester County Health Department are no longer taking reports of dead birds or submitting birds for West Nile virus testing.

If you find a dead bird, please dispose of it properly. To dispose of a dead bird: 

  • Use gloves and a double layer of plastic trash bags to pick up the bird.
  • Using your gloved hands and a doubled trash bag, enclose the dead bird in the bags.
  • Close and tie the bags and dispose in the trash or as directed by your municipality.
  • Wash your hands with soap and warm water.

West Nile virus is not transmissible via touching a dead bird. A person must be bitten by an infected mosquito for transmission to occur. If you have any questions please contact the Westchester County Health Department at (914) 813-5000.


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