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How Naperville Residents Can Protect Against West Nile Virus

Is Naperville Susceptible to West Nile Virus? 

For Naperville residents, the month of April is often regarded with hope and optimism that Winter has finally ceded to Spring and the time for embracing the outdoors is once again drawing near. By this time each year, the sting of another disappointing Bears season has usually subsided and is temporarily replaced with delusions of anticipatory grandeur on the North side.

But around this time, beers and baseballs aren't the only things floating through the air at Wrigley and throughout Chicago's western suburbs. Mosquitoes also are on the prowl, preparing to make their habitual re-awakening, wreaking havoc on all those in their paths. Last summer, the city of Naperville discovered mosquitoes testing positive for West Nile Virus in multiple monitoring sites, along with several documented cases of individuals in or around Naperville contracting the disease. 

What Does Naperville Do to Combat Mosquitoes? 

Like many cities around the mid-western United States, Naperville's mosquito abatement program typically begins sometime in May and continues throughout the summer. Due to a variety of limitations, this program focuses predominantly on applications of adulticide pesticides intended to mitigate (reduce) active populations of live mosquitoes in a given environment. But do these applications work?

To the extent that they do what they are intended to do, which is reduce the presence of live mosquitoes at the time of application, they do work. The more meaningful questions, however, should be to what extent do these applications make a discernible impact on the mosquito populations in an environment, how long is that impact discernible, and to what degree does that impact lessen the risk of exposure to mosquito-borne illnesses such as West Nile Virus to residents in the Naperville area? If there are 20 million mosquitoes in an environment, for instance, and we do an application that kills 50% of them, do the remaining 10 million mosquitoes pose less of a noticeable health hazard than the original 20 million? Debatable. And how many days will it take for the remaining 10 million mosquitoes to reproduce enough off-spring to get back to the pre-application population of 20 million?

But unquestionably, large-scale adulticide applications for mosquitoes help in mitigating populations of mosquitoes, which by any measure, is a really good thing for which we should all be thankful. But there is a whole lot more we can each be doing.  

What Should a Naperville Resident Do to Help With Mosquitoes?

Remember this...effective mosquito abatement requires a cooperate effort between the state and local government, individual communities, and individual homeowners. Your individual involvement in the process makes a difference.

  1. Eliminate Mosquito Breeding Sites: If you do nothing else this mosquito season, please do this...inspect the exterior of your property for any areas with the potential to hold 2 inches of water or more. This may include planter boxes, pots, tarps, tires, gutters, downspouts, knots in trees, divots, holes in the ground, toys, bird baths, furniture, ponds, and much, much more. Whenever possible, eliminate these areas entirely. If certain areas cannot be removed, look to treat these areas with an approved larvicide that is designed to render these areas inhospitable for mosquito reproduction. By eliminating potential breeding sites, the possibility of mosquito presence in the immediate areas will be markedly reduced. 
  2. Minimize Mosquito Harborages: It is important to note that most threatening species of mosquitoes in the Naperville area are most active at dawn and dusk. Which means that during the daytime they seek refuge in areas in close proximity that provide shade and cover from direct sunlight. Having large amounts of heavy foliage around a property increases the suitable harborage area, thereby creating an environment conducive to heavier mosquito concentrations. By making a concerted effort to keep all foliage minimally manicured, the environment will in turn become less hospitable. Shady areas that cannot be eliminated, such as the underside of eaves, can be treated with adulticides to render those areas inhospitable. 
  3. Treat With a Combination of Adulticides and Larvicides: Whether you choose to do your own mosquito control applications or hire a professional mosquito company is ultimately up to you. But whether you choose to treat for mosquitoes at all should not be. For the benefit of all those on and around your property...please treat for mosquitoes. From a treatment standpoint, the 2 essential components are consistent adulticide applications at strategic intervals (typically every 2-4 weeks) in combination with targeted larvicide applications. The adulticides immediately eliminate live adult mosquitoes in the environment, and the larvicides prevent immature mosquitoes from ever becoming biting adults. 

Should I Hire a Professional Mosquito Company? 

You don't have to...but it many instances it is advisable to do so. Should you wish to discuss the pros and cons, Professor Pest's Live Online Chat is available for support and recommendations. If you do choose to do your own mosquito treatments, be sure to acquire the proper application and personal protective equipment and follow the applications instructions on the product label. 

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