Elmhurst has once again begun its annual mosquito control program to prevent mosquito breeding and suppress mosquito populations, including those that carry mosquito-borne disease.
The first human case of West Nile virus in Illinois has already been reported here in Chicago, just over a month earlier than last year. There were 90 cases reported in all of 2017 in Illinois, with eight deaths.
The early onset is not surprising after the area saw the wettest May on record and with June at 6.84 inches as of the 25th based on Weather Underground data from O’Hare Airport.
“This is especially early for a West Nile human case to be confirmed by the CDC,” said Emily Glasberg, entomologist for Clarke, the City’s contractor for mosquito control. “The high temperatures and rainfall have created ideal conditions for mosquitoes that carry West Nile to breed, and we are working to interrupt that cycle.”
The city has contracted with St. Charles-based Clarke to conduct its mosquito control operations, which includes surveillance for potential vectors, mapping of mosquito breeding sites, treating storm drains with larvicides to prevent mosquito eggs from developing, and adulticiding, which involves dispersing an ultra-low volume product that interacts with mosquitoes on the wing to reduce adult populations. Clarke also monitors rainfall to determine when large broods of wet weather (nuisance) mosquitoes will be emerging.
Clarke uses surveillance and trap counts to schedule adulticiding applications throughout the summer months. All scheduled dates are weather permitting. Applications are coordinated with York Township, Oakbrook Terrace, Addison, Oak Brook and Addison Township to provide greater control over the larger area. Catch basin larviciding treatments are ongoing.
“While many people have been concerned about the possibility of Zika virus in the area, the mosquitoes that can carry Zika are very uncommon this far north,” said Glasberg. “Local cases to date have been travel-related, with individuals becoming infected while in areas with active Zika transmission.”
Elmhurst has opted for Clarke’s EarthRight® service program, which uses highly effective, naturally derived products applied with green delivery technologies, including bicycles and electric vehicles. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Environmental Protection Agency’s Joint Statement on Mosquito Control in the United States, “All insecticides used in the U.S. for public health use have been approved and registered by the EPA following the review of many scientific studies. The EPA has assessed these chemicals and found that, when used according to label directions, they do not pose unreasonable risk to public health and the environment.”
Residents who have questions or would like to receive a phone call when there will be spraying for mosquitoes, or report instances of standing water, can call the Clarke Mosquito Hotline at 800-942-2555.
In addition to community control initiatives, residents can take these additional steps to reduce mosquito populations around their homes this summer, including:
- Remove or empty water in old tires, tin cans, buckets, drums, bottles or other places where mosquitoes might breed.
- Empty plastic wading pools at least once a week and store indoors when not in use. If unused, drain swimming pools and keep dry.
- Change water weekly in bird baths, plant saucers and trays.
- Water bowls used by pets should be emptied and refilled daily.
- Fill holes around home that may retain water.
- Keep gutters around home in good repair to avoid water build-up.
- Keep weeds and grass cut short, as adult mosquitoes look for shady places to rest during hot daylight hours.
- Be sure screens in homes are intact and tight-fitting to prevent entry of insects.
- Use insect repellant and wear long-sleeved shirts and pants when going outdoors.