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Mosquito prevention efforts underway at GFAFB

Senior Airman Patrick Archer and Airman 1st Class Jonathon Simmons, both 319th Civil Engineer Squadron pet management journeymen, observe a water sample June 13, 2018, on Grand Forks Air Force Base, North Dakota. The pest management section collects samples of water often to observe and monitor mosquito larvae populations and determine the best course of action. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Melody Wolff)

Senior Airman Patrick Archer and Airman 1st Class Jonathon Simmons, both 319th Civil Engineer Squadron pet management journeymen, observe a water sample June 13, 2018, on Grand Forks Air Force Base, North Dakota. The pest management section collects samples of water often to observe and monitor mosquito larvae populations and determine the best course of action. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Melody Wolff)

GRAND FORKS AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. -- Mosquito season is upon us here at Grand Forks Air Force Base, North Dakota, and the efforts to control these pesky bugs are fully underway.

The 319th Civil Engineer Squadron pest management section in conjunction with the 319th Medical Operations Squadron public health element, not only monitor the base’s mosquito population, but also work together to prevent and control mosquitoes that spread viruses, like West Nile.

Beginning in early spring, the pest management team begins to monitor the installation by placing mosquito magnets, aptly named, to draw in the mosquitoes and trap them. The captured mosquitoes are brought to public health. They are then sorted by species and gender and sent to the U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine where they undergo testing for diseases that may be of concern to humans.

“We are able to take the data that comes from aerospace medicine and determine hot spots to focus our mosquito control efforts,” said Master Sgt. Kepler Baksh, 319 CES pest management noncommissioned officer in-charge.

To help combat mosquitoes, pest management uses two forms of pesticide, each targeting a specific stage of mosquito lifecycle. From early spring until the fall, larvicide is applied to areas where standing water is likely to gather in an effort to reduce the mosquito larvae, resulting in less flying adults. Pest management also uses a fogger to control the adult mosquitoes. These operations are conducted daily based upon mosquito counts and weather conditions, typically from 4:30 – 7:30 a.m. and 7:30 – 11:30 p.m., as this is the time when mosquitoes are most active.

Additionally, the 319th Air Base Wing solicits the assistance from the Aerial Spray Squadron based out Youngstown Air Reserve Station, Ohio. This team is scheduled to conduct two spray missions at Grand Forks AFB each year; the first mission targeting mosquito larvae, took place June 12 and 13, 2018, and the second targeting adult mosquitoes, is scheduled for August.

To help combat mosquitoes, pest management suggests service members inspect their homes and address the following potential mosquito breeding areas:

- Potted plants with pans underneath that hold water. Don’t over water plants; remove the pan if possible or dump any unnecessary water.

- Standing water in low grassy areas, tire tracks and swales. Fill and regrade if possible and keep grass mowed. Check under faucets.

- Roof gutters plugged with leaves. This area is often missed and will require a ladder to

- Trash, old tires or “spare parts.” Discard items, store inside a building or cover what cannot be discarded.

- Unused or poorly maintained pools, particularly kiddy wading pools. Empty pools when not being used, flush weekly, or add chlorine as required.

- Bird baths, barbecue grills, ash trays and other small containers that hold water. Cover grills, overturn or remove container of flush with water at least once a week.

- Ensure window screens are in place and free of holes or tears.

More information regarding the management of mosquitoes around your home can be found online at www.cdc.gov.