Mosquitoes are both a nuisance and a health concern, as their bites may spread diseases to people and pets. A team effort between residents and the Division of Environmental Health and Protection helps “block the bite” and reduces the risk of exposure to disease-carrying mosquitoes in St. Charles County.
“The Division of Environmental Health and Protection reminds St. Charles County residents that it takes a joint effort to control mosquitoes in our community,” says Caroline McEwen, manager for the St. Charles County Mosquito Control program. “When residents take steps to protect themselves and eliminate breeding grounds from their homes, our staff can focus on decreasing the population of disease-carrying pests in our community.”
Managing nuisance mosquito populations is the focus of the St. Charles County Mosquito Control program. Staff treats common habitat areas with larvicide to minimize development of adult insects and sprays targeted areas with insecticide to reduce populations. Additionally, the division studies the local mosquito population by setting traps around the community. Staff then examines insects to determine the species and any presence of disease. Knowing the types of mosquitoes in our community enables staff to better treat populations, as various species behave differently and are active at different times of the day.
Residents in unincorporated St. Charles County or those who live in Augusta, Cottleville, Dardenne Prairie, Flint Hill, Lake Saint Louis, Portage des Sioux, St. Paul, Weldon Spring, Weldon Spring Heights and Wentzville should use the Division of Environmental Health and Protection’s online portal (sccmo.org/Mosquito) to request treatment for nuisance mosquitoes. Residents living within the city limits of O’Fallon, St. Charles and St. Peters should contact their respective city halls for treatment concerns.
Instances of serious illnesses caused by mosquito bites are rare, but West Nile Virus and other emerging illnesses are present in Missouri and other parts of the United States. Residents should take responsibility to minimize exposure and protect themselves and their families by following these precautions:
- Use insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, IR355 or oil of lemon eucalyptus according to manufacturer’s guidelines when outdoors. Remember to apply sunscreen first, let it dry, and then apply repellent.
- Wear light colored, loose-fitting clothing. Long sleeves and long shirts also help to minimize exposure.
- Eliminate potential insect breeding grounds around your home. Drain areas where water settles for more than five days, clean gutters, remove trash and debris and disrupt fountains, ponds or bird baths.
Pet owners must also do their part to protect their animals from mosquito-borne illnesses:
- Consult with your veterinarian about beginning a heartworm control program.
- Purchase insect control products specifically designed for animals and follow manufacturer’s directions. Never put human insect repellent on animals.
- Contact your veterinarian if the animal displays uncommon behaviors such as stiffness or joint pain, loss of appetite, difficulty breathing, vomiting or diarrhea, fever, and unexplained fatigue.
For more information about mosquito behavior, prevention tips and disease risks, please visit sccmo.org/About-Mosquitoes.