Pest Control in the Prevention of West Nile Virus
As the United States braces for another summer of the West Nile Virus (WNV), some relief exists through the use of preventative measures including, larvicides and pesticides that can be used to control the mosquito-borne disease.
The best approach to the use of pesticides is one of balance. This includes early preventative measures for the control of pests - such as sanitation, structural repair and maintenance. Pesticides should be used as part of a responsible program to avoid risk to safety or human health.
It is a priority of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to limit the risks to human health and the environment from pesticides. This is done through a rigorous registration process that the producer of a pesticide must undergo before their product ever makes it to market. The process may include as many as 120 government-mandated tests and an eight-to 10-year development process which often costs the manufacturer between $35 million and $50 million. As a result, approximately one in 20,000 potential products ever make it to the marketplace.
A balanced approach, which includes the use of pesticides as necessary, is one that will assure health and safety for both children and adults. Pesticides should not be considered for emergency use only, especially when you consider that the purpose of responsible pest control is to prevent emergencies.
There are a number of simple, positive steps an individual can take to help control mosquitoes that may be infected with WNV. These include eliminating standing water near your home (in potted plants, garbage cans, gutters and drains); replacing outdoor lights with bug lights; checking window and door screens for holes; and, the proper use of mosquito repellant.