HILL AIR FORCE BASE — It’s that time of year as the temperatures increase, so does the mosquito population. At Hill Air Force Base, 75th Medical Group Public Health routinely monitors the population with mosquito trapping inspections at various locations around the base.
When a trigger number of 70 female mosquitoes are trapped, Public Health informs the 75th Civil Engineer Squadron’s Pest Management Section to take action to mitigate the amount of mosquitoes in the area.
According to Maj. Ryan Button at Public Health, they trapped 216 female mosquitoes at the Dog Park last month. Therefore, Pest Management recently started fogging operations around base housing, the pond and trail areas, Youth Center and Dog Park, temporary lodging and FAMCAMP.
The fogging times are posted at the Base Housing Office. They are Tuesday and Thursday nights from 8 p.m. to midnight and will last until Public Health recommends discontinuance, usually in early October. Residents are encouraged to remain indoors during the operation. If outside during the fogging operation, residents should not come closer than 75 feet from the direct spray.
Jeff Brady, Pest Management, said they are currently using a non-hazardous contact insecticide spray that includes peppermint oil and soybean oil. If the mosquito population increases, they then move on to a spray called Malathion, which is also a non-hazardous contact spray. Residents may smell an aroma, which is from the heavy Aromatic Naphtha, which attracts the insect.
“The products are contact sprays. In other words, a person or a pet must be directly in the path in order for it to be inhaled or absorbed in the skin,” said Brady.
Mosquitoes can carry and transmit various diseases such as Zika, Dengue, Chikungunya, West Nile Virus, and Malaria (Yellow Fever). The main mosquito borne illness of concern in Utah is the West Nile Virus.
Staff Sgt. Joshua Baker, Public Health, said between the years 2018-2019, there have been 32 cases of West Nile Virus in Utah, but there have been no cases at Hill AFB.
However, Baker said, “If someone begins experiencing severe headaches, fever, disorientation, or sudden weakness after being bitten by a mosquito, they should contact a healthcare professional.”
According to Public Health, there are ways to reduce your risk from mosquitoes. Baker said residents can avoid being outside during their peak hours, dawn and dusk. If outside during these time frames, try to cover any exposed skin as much as possible (wearing pants, long sleeves, hats, etc.) and use an insect repellent that contains DEET.
There are also recommendations to keep the pests away around the home. First, frequently pour out any containers that can collect water. Any sources of standing water, such as rain gutters, tires, bird baths and pet bowls, are breeding grounds for mosquito larvae. It is also recommended to keep lawns trimmed and to avoid overwatering.