By TIFFANY RONEY
Sometimes one problem leads to another. When the first problem is solved, the second arises. Such is the case with Abilene’s water and bugs.
City Manager David Dillner discussed Abilene’s insect issue on Friday.
“Abilene had a water problem. Now it has a mosquito problem,” Dillner said.
Dillner said the city plans to respond to the problem by spraying Wednesday and then again Thursday or Friday. Unfortunately, Dillner said, mosquitoes can still enter the town from outside city limits. Thus, Dillner said he wanted to encourage citizens to take personal action.
“If there are any items in their yards that could be dumped or turned over, I would encourage people to do that, because that’s where mosquitoes are nesting and laying eggs,” Dillner said.
Dillner said it would be beneficial for people to use personal body spray as they go about their business in town. Additionally, he said people can purchase tablets to prevent mosquitoes from breeding in standing water.
“You can put (the tablets) in areas where water is held, for example, ditches or areas that you can’t (overturn), and that tablet then will kill the mosquito larvae, but it won’t have any harm to humans or animals or plants,” Dillner said. “So those are a couple of different things that the public can do to help with the problem.”
Ralph Powell, local gardener, said he learned about the tablets through a master gardener course at K-State.
“I just know that they’re proven. They really do work,” Powell said. “I need to get some because I know the mosquitoes are a problem.”
Susan Vaughn, employee of Pioneer Farm & Ranch Supply, said the store carries the tablets. Vaught said Pioneer sells Mosquito Dunks® for $11.99 and Pre-Strike® Mosquito Torpedo® for $4.29.
Beyond tablets and repellants, people can guard against mosquitoes by wearing long sleeves, long pants and socks when outdoors when the weather permits. For extra protection, outdoor adventurers can spray repellant onto their clothes. Permethrin is a strong repellant ingredient that can be sprayed onto clothing, but repellants containing permethrin should not be sprayed directly onto skin, according to Center for Disease Control. For skin, repellants containing DEET, picaridin and IR3535 and para-menthane-diol are ideal. Oil of lemon eucalyptus is a more natural solution.
When staying inside, Abilene residents can install or repair screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out of their houses.
There are no medications or vaccines to treat or prevent West Nile virus, which is transmitted by mosquitoes, but less than 1 percent of infected people develop the serious, sometimes fatal illness for which the virus is known. According to CDC, about 1 in 5 infected persons develop fevers and the rest do not suffer any symptoms.