COUNTY NEWS RELEASE
After the Cerro Pelado fire threat, the rains have been a welcome relief to most Los Alamos locals. However, the wetter weather has also contributed to a surge in mosquito populations. More than just annoying, mosquitoes can also be a public health hazard, transmitting illnesses and viruses. To tackle the problem, Los Alamos County Parks Superintendent Wendy Parker is asking assistance from the community.
Standing water in arroyos, ponds, and puddles along the road or in one’s yard is where mosquitoes breed. Therefore, eliminating these habitats will help to reduce the population. Parker indicates that her department has been actively seeking stagnant water sources around the county (retention ponds and stormwater basins) and placing chemical-free mosquito dunks to eliminate larvae and pupae. She explains that dunks are small pellets that dissolve in water to release a bacterium that is toxic only to mosquito larvae. However, she states that this is not enough.
All residents should survey their properties and remove any standing water. According to Parker, individuals may not realize that a bucket or a tarp that has collected even the smallest amount of rainwater can now harbor hundreds of mosquito larvae. In addition, Parker suggests residents mow the lawn, clean birdbaths, and keep gutters clean weekly to reduce mosquito larvae. “Debris in a gutter can trap water during a rainfall, creating a perfect place for mosquitoes to lay their eggs.”
To protect against bites, Parker suggests wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants if outside in the early morning and dusk when mosquitoes are most active. For additional recommendations on repellents, bites and mosquito control around the home, visit the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) webpage cdc.gov/mosquitoes and the New Mexico State University flyer.