Health officials remind residents that mosquito bites are 100 percent preventable |

Health officials remind residents that mosquito bites are 100 percent preventable

Scott Franz

Tips for fighting mosquitoes

Mosquito Management

Around the home

  • Eliminate standing water in low spots, ditches, gutters and similar areas.
  • Empty weekly or remove receptacles that collect rainwater (bird baths, old tires).
  • Mosquito netting and tight screens can provide mosquito-free areas.
  • Some mosquitoes are attracted to lights. Reduce unnecessary lighting to make yards less attractive to mosquitoes.
  • "Bug zappers" do not reduce mosquito landing or biting. They attract and kill many insects but few are mosquitoes that attack humans. Many of the insects killed are beneficial because they feed on garden pests.
  • Ultrasonic devices, such as those that claim to mimic dragonflies, do not affect mosquito activity.
  • Light-colored clothing is less attractive to adult mosquitoes. Tightly woven fabrics give some protection against biting.
  • Citronella and Avon Skin So Soft can be used for short periods of relief. Some naphthalene products (such as Mosquito Beater) can be broadcast in yards for temporary relief from adult mosquitoes.
  • Adult mosquitoes rest in shrubbery and other shaded areas during the day. These areas can be treated with approved insecticides. Foggers for flying insects can also be used, but will provide only short-term relief. Various aerosol insecticides are available for controlling mosquitoes indoors.

To control mosquitoes

on irrigated farms:

  • schedule water delivery to avoid excess watering,
  • reduce or eliminate vegetation and debris in ditches and other water containment structures
  • eliminate mosquito habitats in impoundments. Fill or drain water-holding areas, and fill or deepen shallow areas preferred by mosquito larvae.

Source: Colorado State University Extension Office Web site

— Take a hike this summer, and you’re likely to hear their menacing buzz.

“This is prime time for mosquitoes in the high country,” Routt County Environmental Health Director Mike Zopf said last week. “But mosquito bites are 100 percent preventable.”

The tiny insects have grabbed headlines in recent weeks with news that the West Nile virus has been detected in places like Boulder County.

But in Routt County, Zopf said the virus is less likely to appear and hasn’t been detected.

He said the county’s only case of West Nile was in a horse several years ago that spent some time on the Front Range.

“I think we benefit from the elevation,” Zopf said. “We have plenty of mosquitoes here, just not the type that are most frequently turning up with West Nile.”

The Denver Post reported last week that Colorado saw its first West Nile infection of the season in a person in Delta County.

The disease, which causes illness and in rare cases, death, is transmitted to humans through mosquitoes.

Mosquitoes acquire it through infected birds.

Routt County did as recently as three years ago regularly test mosquito “pools” for West Nile, Zopf said.

But after years of coming back with no trace of the disease, the testing stopped.

Still, there are plenty of steps residents can take to avoid mosquito bites and prevent them from becoming a problem near their homes.

They are most active at dawn and dusk, and use standing water as breeding grounds.

That means old planters or pools of water should be mitigated to prevent the insects from multiplying and hanging around.

When spending time outdoors and hiking, there’s the obvious recommendation of wearing insect repellant.

Outdoor enthusiasts also can wear light long sleeves and pants in buggier areas to avoid bites.

Zopf said residents can help the county potentially spot the presence of West Nile by reporting any mass bird dieoffs in an area that cannot be attributed to the presence of power lines.

Zopf said the county has throughout the years sent dead birds to a state lab to be tested for West Nile, but nothing has come back positive.

To learn more about preventing mosquito bites and the West Nile virus, visit

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email

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