Mosquitoes' buzz hits Hawaii
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WHEELER ARMY AIRFIELD, Hawaii - While a mosquito's irritating, high-pitched buzz can be a nuisance, the irritating pests have not yet caused any serious illness to humans, here, according to the Hawaii State Department of Health.

Although Hawaii has reported no mosquitoes carrying human diseases, such as dengue fever, West Nile virus and malaria, at present, dogs can acquire heartworms (filarial worms) from infected mosquitoes biting them. Also, native birds often die from bird malaria and bird pox in lowlands where infected mosquitoes are prevalent.

Prevention
To help prevent the spread of mosquitoes in the islands, Hawaii's DoH offers the following suggestions:

-Control methods around the home. Inspect common breeding sites where standing water is often found, including clogged roof gutters, cans, bottles, old tires and overflow trays under house plants.

-Take permanent control. Find breeding sites by removing, repairing or emptying everything that could contain water and become breeding areas for mosquitoes on your premises.

Use mosquito-eating fish (such as guppies) in fishponds, unused swimming pools or other large containers that can't be removed or emptied. However, do not release these fish into natural water sources, such as streams or lakes, as they aren't a native species.

Install or repair window screens and doors to keep out mosquitoes. Screens are the best protection against mosquito nuisance in homes.

-Use temporary controls. Eliminate adult mosquitoes with aerosol insecticides labeled for flying insects. Consult a garden shop or chemical company on the Internet for information on available insecticides.

For personal protection, use insect repellents containing DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide) at 30-33 percent for adults and 7.5 percent for children under 12 years. DEET should not be used on babies less than 2 years of age.

When outside, remain covered up with long sleeves and long trousers to help prevent being bitten by mosquitoes.

To learn more about mosquitoes, call the local Department of Health at 808-483-2535 or visit www.hawaii.gov/health or www.epa.gov/pesticides/health/mosquitoes/.

(Editor's Note: Information was compiled from Vector Control Branch, State of Hawaii Department of Health.)

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16