Mosquito mark, release, recapture project underway
We're in the middle of mosquito season. Many of you are taking the necessary precautions to repel them. One group from the Oswego County Health Department is getting up close and personal in order to track their travel. Our Iris St. Meran tells us how this process help can help Health Departments make important decisions when it comes to controlling these insects.
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WEST MONROE, N.Y. -- When most people spot mosquitoes they try to go in the opposite direction. But on Saturday staff at the Oswego County Health Department went right in the middle of mosquito territory.
Oswego County Associate Public Health Sanitarian Evan Walsh said, "Today is the second weekend of our mark, release, recapture project, where we're marking mosquitoes with fluorescent powder."
They are marking them with florescent powder in various colors. In order to mark them they're caught in black boxes, marked with the powder and then set free. This helps track their movements and can help counties make important decisions when it comes to mosquito control.
"If we need to do adult mosquito control by aerial spraying, it would help us target the species because that's what the research will hopefully show, that we will be able to know when they leave and where they go to," said Walsh.
When they get recaptured, they are taken to a lab for testing to see if they are carrying Eastern Equine Encephalitis or the West Nile Virus. Although the county takes precautions like aerial spraying, they want you to do your part with the right clothing and products.
Walsh said, "We really don't want the public to get complacent."
The general public is always urged to use mosquito repellant containing DEET, but when staff members go out to mosquito infested areas, they're told not to use those products because it can hinder their work.
"We want the mosquitoes to stay captured, not driven off,” Walsh said, “In lieu of that, what we have to do is our best, to make sure our own staff is protected."
They are protected by wearing special clothing. Although this may not seem like an ideal job for most, the information they will be able to collect and study from the insects will be a big help to everyone.
This is a five week marking project. Staff will continue to collect the mosquitoes throughout the summer and they will be tested to see if any are carrying viruses.