In addition to being a seasonal source of annoyance for many Cattaraugus County residents, some mosquitoes can also carry certain diseases which could pose a hazard to public health. Although mosquitoes can transmit various viruses, West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) are the two of primary concern in New York State.
Aerial Larvicide Program
For decades, Cattaraugus County, in conjunction with certain towns, has conducted an active mosquito surveillance and control program, which primarily took place along the Allegheny River Valley in the southern part of the county. However, due to budget restrictions in recent years, the surveillance program is limited and the control program was scaled back.
Note that wetland larvicide spraying is different than spraying for adult mosquitoes over residential areas. Cattaraugus County does not do the latter unless a public health threat has been declared.
Reducing Mosquitoes Around Your Home
Regardless of the County’s control program, there are some steps you can take to reduce mosquito populations around your home, thereby reducing your risk of exposure to mosquito borne diseases.
Reduce the Population Around Your Home – Mosquitoes require pools of stagnant water to lay their eggs and develop as larvae. Under the right conditions, eggs can hatch and develop into adults in less than four days. By eliminating these breeding pools, you can substantially reduce the populations around your home (see the “Fight the Bite” link below for common sources of breeding pools). Empty or remove all containers in your yard that can hold rainwater. Keep roof gutters clean. Frequently change water in bird baths and kiddie pools. Drain or treat swampy area with larvicide "dunks" available at outdoor and garden stores.
Protect Yourself When Outdoors – Covering your skin by wearing long sleeve shirts, pants, and socks and shoes will prevent most mosquito bites. Use repellents only when necessary and follow all label directions. Apply repellents to your clothing only, not directly to the skin. Avoid being outside during periods of peak mosquito activity (dusk and dawn). Keep screens repaired on all windows and doors.