By Ms. Wendy Arevalo (Army Medicine)August 18, 2017
FORT HUACHUCA, Ariz. -- Keeping the population of mosquitos down on Fort Huachuca is a combined effort of installation pest management and the Environmental Health Department at Raymond W. Bliss Army Health Center.
From June through September, Raymond W. Bliss Army Health Center's Environmental Health personnel set out traps on Fort Huachuca to catch mosquitos. They place traps near standing water that has the potential to be a breeding site for any mosquitos.
Environmental Health staff use the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's light traps with dry ice suspended above to attract mosquitos. A fan sucks them into a container that prevents them from leaving the trap. The traps are then retrieved the next day by Environmental Health staff.
RWBAHC's Capt. Sean Sullivan, Chief of Environmental Health, said Aedes Egypti mosquitos are one of the particular species they look for because they are a carrier of the Zika virus, Chikungunya virus and Dengue Fever.
The Culex species of mosquito are also surveyed as they are carriers of the West Nile virus and St. Louis Encephalitis virus, Sullivan said.
So far, for 2017, Sullivan said no mosquitos carrying these viruses have been found on Fort Huachuca.
"Right now we're getting 20 to 30 specimens per trapping session which is normal for this environment," Sullivan said. "(Fort Huachuca's Directorate of Public Works) Pest Management is also doing their due diligence by dropping mosquito dunks in standing water to control breeding populations of mosquitos, which accounts for the low specimen count."
Mosquito dunks look like a small, beige, donut which float on standing water. They contain a natural mosquito larvicide, which kills mosquito larvae, but is harmless to birds, fish, wildlife, and pets.
Environmental Health collects the mosquito samples, puts them in petri dishes, and mails them to Public Health Command-Central where they test them for dangerous viruses. If something positive comes back, they are notified immediately.
If a positive sample is found, all local entities are notified and surveillance measures are increased.
Eric Gabel, a Directorate of Public Works engineering technician who formally worked in pest management, said if a positive sample is found, DPW will double their efforts to eradicate mosquitos from the area.
To prevent mosquitos from breeding at your home or workplace, the Arizona Department of Health Services recommends removing standing water, cleaning out gutters, covering garbage and junk piles, using intact screens in windows, keeping yard items covered, fixing leaky faucets, and covering items that collect water.
Gabel also recommended that residents empty any standing water from flower pots and buckets around their home.