A dry spring has given an advantage to Douglas County officials combating mosquitoes this year.
According to Mosquito Abatement District Manager Krista Jenkins, a general lack of wetness has allowed her to reach breeding sites, typically inaccessible, earlier in the season.
"We're pre-treating all known breeding sites for larvae with a dry chemical," Jenkins said. "That's our first line of defense. If we can keep a handle on the breeding sites with the dry spray product, then it helps keep spraying for adults down to a minimum."
With the start of summer, the district has been fogging adults somewhat, but substantially less than prior years, Jenkins said. The district hits mosquitoes both from land and air, although they haven't used a plane at all this year.
"It's been slow as far as fogging," Jenkins said. "Also under new regulations of the Nevada Department of Environmental Protection, we have had to change our practices a little bit. They have to do with the Clean Water Act. They haven't been too restrictive yet."
The regulations focus on conditions during fogging and the amount of a chemical put into the air over major waterways, Jenkins said.
"There are some areas we won't be able to fog period," she said. "There are some residents who live right on the river, and we need to be careful."
Jenkins is hopeful the district will still be able to curtail that one persistent threat each summer: West Nile Virus.
"We've been trapping mosquitoes and sending them to Washoe and the state for testing," she said. "There have been no positive mosquitoes, and no reports of human illness. It's a little early in what we call the West Nile season. But since it is dry, and since we've had heated temperatures earlier than previous years, we are expecting to get West Nile positive mosquitoes."
Jenkins urged residents to use common sense to protect themselves.
"Watch what time of day or night you go out," she said. "Use a type of spray you're comfortable using and make sure to reapply it. Long pants, long-sleeve shirts - the whole nine yards."
To view updates on the district's efforts, click the Mosquito Abatement link under Services on the county's new website, www.douglascountynv.gov.