DEP to Conduct Aerial Mosquito Larvae Control on Tuesday, as Flood Waters Recede in Luzerne County

August 20, 2018 - 5:19 pm


Wilkes-Barre, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) West Nile Virus Control Program will conduct aerial treatments to control large populations of mosquito larvae on Tuesday, August 21, 2018, along the Susquehanna River in Exeter, Wyoming, Forty Fort, Kingston, Plymouth, Swoyersville and Avondale Townships in Luzerne County.

DEP Vector Management staff have determined that the treatment is necessary due to high levels of West Nile Virus detected in mosquito populations this year.

2018 has seen increased levels of WNV-positive mosquito samples, with WNV-infected mosquitoes and birds found in 57 Pennsylvania counties. 

Helicopter Applicators Inc. will be dispersing Natular G, which is an OMNI registered EPA reduced risk pesticide. The active ingredient is Saccharopolyspora spinosa, a naturally occurring soil organism. The helicopter will fly low near tree top level, using a bucket system, and release Natular G over stagnant water containing larval mosquitoes. The product is released from the corn cob granules upon reaching the water and will kill mosquito larval when ingested. The control work will begin at approximately 7:00 AM and will last through the daylight hours.

Certain mosquito species carry the West Nile virus, which can cause humans to contract West Nile encephalitis, an infection that can result in an inflammation of the brain. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, all residents in areas where virus activity has been identified are at risk of contracting West Nile encephalitis.

Individuals can take a number of precautionary measures around their homes to help eliminate mosquito-breeding areas, including:

Dispose of cans, buckets, plastic containers, ceramic pots, or similar containers that hold water.

Properly dispose of discarded tires that can collect water. Stagnant water is where most mosquitoes breed.

Drill holes in the bottom of outdoor recycling containers.

Have clogged roof gutters cleaned every year as the leaves from surrounding trees have a tendency to plug drains.

Turn over plastic wading pools when not in use.

Turn over wheelbarrows and don't let water stagnate in birdbaths.

Aerate ornamental pools or stock them with fish.

Clean and chlorinate swimming pools not in use and remove any water that may collect on pool covers.

If a resident has stagnant pools of water on their property, they can buy Bti (short for Bacillus thuringiensis subspecies israelensis) products at lawn and garden, outdoor supply, home improvement and other stores. This naturally occurring bacterium kills mosquito larvae, but is safe for people, pets, aquatic life and plants.

Additionally, these simple precautions can prevent mosquito bites, particularly for people who are most at risk:

Make sure screens fit tightly over doors and windows to keep mosquitoes out of homes.

Consider wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants and socks when outdoors, particularly when mosquitoes are most active at dawn and dusk, or in areas known for having large numbers of mosquitoes.

When possible, reduce outdoor exposure at dawn and dusk during peak mosquito periods, usually April through October.

Use insect repellents according to the manufacturer's instructions. An effective repellent will contain DEET, picardin, or lemon eucalyptus oil. Consult with a pediatrician or family physician for questions about the use of repellent on children, as repellent is not recommended for children under the age of two months.

For more information about West Nile virus and the state's surveillance and control program, please visit

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