A positive test for West Nile virus in Ferguson Township led to a habitat-control spraying Thursday evening in Ferguson Township.
A mosquito sample tested positive for the virus in the township on Aug. 6, according to the state Department of Environmental Protection’s West Nile virus control program. The “ultra low-volume” operation aims to reduce aims to reduce mosquito populations in the township.
Treatment would be focused on the Ag Progress field in Pennsylvania Furnace, township Assistant Manager Dave Pribulka said. Spraying is administered via truck-mounted equipment, DEP said, providing a “quick, effective control of adult mosquito populations.”
“The application material has a very low toxicity profile to mammals and will have negligible impact to non-target insects and the environment,” DEP said in a press release.
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This is the fifth time areas in Centre County have been sprayed for mosquitoes this summer, according to the DEP.
Rush and Patton townships have been treated twice since June, DEP said, with Patton treated most recently on Monday. These treatments, however, were because of a large number of nuisance mosquitoes — attributed to the wet summer — and not a presence of the virus, said Centre County West Nile virus coordinator Albert Lavan.
DEP also said a positive sample was found Wednesday in Howard Township. Lavan said it’s still too early to tell if treatment is needed in that area.
“The decision to spray isn’t just about the presence of the virus,” he said, “but also the number of mosquitoes in the traps. In Ferguson, we had large numbers as well as presence, but in Howard, the number was very low.”
He said he plans to take more traps to Howard Township next week.
DEP suggests taking precautionary measures to prevent the breeding of mosquitoes, including disposing of containers that hold stagnant water, drilling holes in the bottom of outdoor recycling containers and cleaning clogged roof gutters each year. People can prevent mosquito bites by avoiding outdoor exposure during dawn and dusk, wearing long clothing when outdoors and using insect repellents.