DEP awards Centre County $44,000 for mosquito control

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection awarded more than $2 million in grants to counties to survey and control mosquitoes that carry West Nile or Zika virus, according to a press release from Gov. Tom Wolf’s office.

Centre County was awarded $44,000, the release said.

The most common species of mosquito that carries Zika virus, Aedes aegypti, has not been found in the state since 2002, the release said. But Aedes albopictus, which also carries the virus, is prevalent in southern Pennsylvania counties. Mosquitoes that can carry West Nile are found in all 67 counties.

“DEP is committed to preventing the spread of mosquito borne disease in Pennsylvania,” Acting DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell said in the release. “County governments use this grant funding to identify and control mosquitoes associated with West Nile and Zika virus using the safest, most effective integrated pest management practices available.”

DEP encourages Pennsylvanians to remove standing water from their property and use insect repellents outdoors, the release said.

Birds can be carriers of West Nile, and DEP tests dead birds to determine the virus’ presence in the environment, according to the release.

To report a dead bird, file a mosquito complaint, or for more information about West Nile, visit www.westnile.state.pa.us or call 717-346-8243. For more information on Zika virus, visit www.health.pa.gov.