City proactive in battling insects

By Jack king

A new approach to mosquito control is giving the city of Clovis a head start in the war on the pesky — and some times dangerous — insects.
City of Clovis Vector Control Officer Francis Warner called the new method the “comprehensive approach.”
The dictionary says a “vector” is an organism, commonly an insect, that transmits a virus or bacteria. Warner said mosquitoes have been transmitters of West Nile virus, equine encephalitis, dengue fever and malaria. But the incidence of all of these diseases has fallen due to modern methods of control, he added.
Warner said, in spite of heavy rainfall in the last few weeks, his office has been able to keep mosquito populations down in Curry County.
The new approach consists of pretreating sites likely to breed mosquitoes with an anti-larvae chemical, trapping and testing mosquitoes for various diseases, doing “landing counts,” then spraying sites where mosquitoes show up in large numbers.
Warner, who has a degree in pest control management from Purdue University, said the key is getting rid of mosquito larvae in advance. Since February, Vector Control has been treating spots all over Curry County with a larvae-cide.
“Once larvae turn into mosquitoes, it’s pretty hard to kill them in mass. It’s easier to find larvae sites. As a result of our winter work, we’re not finding as many mosquitoes this summer,” he said.
Residents who want to help cut down on the number of mosquitoes can do so by eliminating open water sources, reporting standing water to Vector Control and keeping weeds cut down, Warner said.
City Inspections Department Director Marcus Brice said the comprehensive approach is state of the art in vector control and seems to be working.
“Taking ‘landing counts’ means walking out into a place where mosquitoes are and counting the ones that land on your arm. But we’re having a hard time doing that, because Francis has eliminated enough mosquitoes that it’s hard to find a big congregation of them,” he said.
Vector Control serves the city of Clovis and Curry County. Residents who find a mosquito breeding area can call 763-9612, Warner said.