Even during the dry months in the desert, mosquitos can be a nuisance and a serious health risk. Maricopa County Environmental Services Department has a year-round surveillance program to set up and monitor mosquito traps in areas identified as problem areas or mosquito-breeding sites. The County deploys over 800 mosquito traps to these areas every week.
Mosquitoes severely impact people's health, comfort, and economic welfare. Large numbers of mosquitoes interfere with outdoor work and recreation, cause livestock to lose weight, and lower property values. Some species transmit diseases to man and animals.
The County's mosquito surveillance program helps determine when, where, and how to control mosquitoes before people start getting sick. What they are looking for is how many mosquitoes are in the area? What types of mosquitoes? Where are sources of standing water where mosquitoes lay eggs and where mosquito larvae and pupae live? What germs are they spreading? Will Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insecticides effectively kill local mosquitoes? Are current mosquito control techniques working?
After collecting the data, Vector Control will use the information gathered through mosquito surveillance to plan control activities, like ground-fogging. If Vector Control specialists discover that local mosquitoes are spreading viruses (like West Nile, dengue, Zika), they intensify activities identified in their mosquito control plans.
Once the mosquito eggs hatch, they become larvae and then pupae. Both larvae and pupae live in standing water. Dumping or removing standing water in and around your home is one way to control larvae. A larvicide will kill larvae for standing water that cannot be discarded or drained. Larvicides are products used to kill mosquito larvae before they become biting adults.
In Fountain Hills, the County determines a control plan that may include ground-fogging troublesome areas with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered larvicides and insecticides. The County will post a calendar notice of their spraying schedule at www.maricopa.gov/632/Vector-Control. You can also find the locations of traps set up by Vector Control in Fountain Hills.
Everyone is responsible for eliminating and preventing mosquito breeding on their property. Mosquitoes lay eggs on or near water because larvae need water to survive. You can remove standing water to reduce mosquito larvae before becoming adult flying mosquitoes. Once a week, items that hold water like tires, buckets, planters, toys, pools, birdbaths, flowerpot saucers, and trash containers should be emptied and scrubbed, turned over, covered, or thrown away.
Learn more about controlling mosquitoes outside your home. People can treat standing water that cannot be dumped or drained, like rain barrels and pool covers, with larvicides. Always follow label instructions.
Controlling larvae and pupae before they become adults can minimize the need for widespread use of insecticides that kill adult mosquitoes.
Adult mosquitoes can spread viruses (like West Nile, dengue, or others) that make you sick. When surveillance activities show that adult mosquito populations are increasing, the County may decide to apply adulticides to kill adult mosquitoes. Adulticides help reduce the number of adult mosquitoes in an area and reduce the risk that people will get sick.
For more information about Maricopa County Environmental Services and the Vector Control Division call 602-506-0700 or go to www.maricopa.gov/632/Vector-Control.