|Vector Control looks to take a bite out of bugs this summer posted on 03/01/2018|
Two representatives from the Clackamas County Vector Control
District (CCVC), Interim Executive Director Josh Jacobson and office manager
Theresa Micallef, detailed methods used to monitor and control mosquito
populations on the mountain at the Tuesday, Feb. 6 meeting of the Mt. Hood Area
Chamber of Commerce, held at the Mount Hood Village RV Resort. They also
informed citizens of ways to reduce exposure to potential mosquito borne
illnesses such as West Nile and Zika viruses.
“We’re trying to have the minimum impact on people, property
and the environment,” Jacobson said, describing an approach called integrated
pest management, “while protecting citizens from mosquitoes.”
CCVC was established as a special district in 1964 to
control mosquito and fly populations that act as vectors, or carriers, of
pathogens such as viruses, bacteria and harmful protozoans.
Jacobson explained that limiting breeding grounds is an
essential aspect of control in which community members can play an important
role. Mosquitoes breed in any containers that hold still or stagnant water such
as bird baths, gutters and downspouts, tires, planters, rain barrels and
Unmaintained backyard pools are cited as leading breeding
grounds in the area.
CCVC also reduces mosquito populations by providing any
citizen with a contained body of water on their property with free Gambusia
affinis, commonly known as mosquito fish. These minnows primarily feed on
mosquito larvae. This method can also help minimize the use of pesticides.
They advised community members to avoid exposure to mosquito
borne illness by limiting contact when mosquitoes are most active, during
sunrise, sunset and early evening. Jacobson recommended covering up with long
sleeves, long pants, socks and closed shoes when around mosquitoes and using
repellent containing DEET when necessary.
The West Nile virus is the primary mosquito borne illness of
concern for the CCVC. The virus produces flu-like symptoms in most cases but
can result in more severe complications for susceptible populations, including
those with compromised immune systems, the elderly and children.
The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) reported West Nile virus
in six Oregon counties in 2017, while no occurrences of West Nile virus were
reported in the Mount Hood area in 2017 according to the study. CCVC traps
mosquitoes in the region and tests potential vector species for the virus.
CCVC also watches for Zika virus, which was reported in the
continental United States in 2016. OHA reported that neither of the two species
of mosquitoes known to transmit the virus (Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus)
has been detected in Oregon, while Jacobson confirmed that these species have
not been discovered in the area by mosquito population monitoring.
Mosquito populations in the region increase steadily through
the spring months before peaking in July and August and decreasing in the fall,
according to CCVC monitoring data. As
locals and tourists enjoy Mount Hood’s myriad summer offerings, controlling
populations is a shared concern.
Mount Hood Area Chamber of Commerce President Coni Scott
described the Feb. 6 meeting as well attended and reported a high level of
interest from local community and business members.
Additional information about methods mountain area residents
can use to prevent and limit their exposure to mosquitoes and mosquito borne
illnesses is available on the Clackamas County Vector Control website at
By Benjamin Simpson/MT