2009-08-27 / Features

Conservation Corner

Those Pesky Mosquitoes
By Fulton County Conservation District

Another casualty of the state's current economic woes is the county's West Nile Virus Surveillance Program. This year's surveillance activity will end as of August 31; therefore, it behooves county residents to be extra diligent this year in eliminating mosquito breeding areas.

Hot weather, the occasional rain and items on your property that hold water make "the perfect storm" for breeding mosquitoes! It only takes a few hot days for mosquitoes to transform from egg to adult, and they do not need much water in order to accomplish their task. So, unless you like being bitten by mosquitoes or you like the prospect of those breeding mosquitoes spreading West Nile virus, Eastern Equine Encephalitis or even heart worm (to your dog), then it is important to do all you can to remove or minimize the mosquito breeding sites on your property. The West Nile virus surveillance work that is done in Fulton County shows that the majority of mosquito breeding sites are of human origin; they are not wetlands, ponds, streams or the like. While natural systems can produce mosquitoes, by far the largest number of mosquito breeding sites are "artificial containers."

Please do your part to minimize the risk of West Nile virus in the county. While we have had one sample of mosquitoes collected in the county test positive for the virus this summer, this does not need to be a regular occurrence. You can help by emptying anything on your property that will hold water, even for just a few days after a rain. Remove mosquito breeding sites by turning over the wheelbarrow, keep buckets and barrels top down, empty and refill birdbaths frequently, recycle tires or at least keep them under cover (mosquitoes love tires), empty plastic toys that hold water, clean out gutters, fill in small depressions in the yard that hold water after a rain and keep an eye on tarps and plastic sheeting where water can puddle and keep them drained.

If you have an ornamental pond and any fish or other aquatic life are not eating the mosquito larvae, use commercial products such as "mosquito dunks" (which contain a naturally occurring bacteria lethal only to mosquito and black fly larvae) to control larvae.

It's up to everyone in the county to do their part to defend against West Nile virus by not giving mosquitoes a place to breed on your property.

Again, after August 31, the county West Nile virus coordinator will no longer be conducting mosquito surveillance or larvaciding activities.

Recycling

"If you're not recycling, you're throwing it away!" or, unfortunately, burning it up. Burning garbage is detrimental to both air and water and throwing everything into the landfill is a waste of resources and can also lead to water and air contamination. Throwing your trash along the road is not only illegal, but extremely rude and selfish. There is a better way! Try recycling!

The Fulton County Recycling Drop-Off Program appears to be growing, and that is something to celebrate. We are diverting precious resources from the landfill (or burn barrel or roadside) that can be used over, saving other resources from being used in the extraction and refining of raw material and providing jobs in the recycling and re-use industries.

If you're not familiar with this program, there are four drop-off locations throughout the county. One is located in front of the Forbes Road Elementary school, another at the Thompson Township Municipal Building, a third at the Bethel Township Municipal Building and the fourth is located behind Courthouse Annex 1 in McConnellsburg.

The program is very easy as material is now co-mingled, meaning you no longer have to separate materials - everything goes in the bin together. However, not everything is recyclable in our program, so it is very important to only place the proper material in the bin. Yes, unfortunately, some things at this time are still considered garbage.

Feel free to recycle all clean paper products (paper, boxes, cardboard, phone books, magazines, etc). Please, no used paper plates, no greasy pizza boxes, no used tissues, etc.

Likewise, all bottles are accepted, both glass and plastic. Regarding glass, only bottles and jars are accepted - that means no ceramic items, no drinking glasses, no window glass, etc.

Plastic bottles and jugs are welcome, but that is the only form of plastic that can be recycled in our program. The plastic must have a top (opening) narrower than the base - something that looks like a bottle or jug. No other plastic is accepted - no plastic bags, no plastic wrap, no plastic cups, no margarine or yogurt containers, no toys, no plastic totes, etc. Plastic shopping bags (only) can be recycled at Giant Food.

As noted, plastic bags are not part of the drop-off recycling program and that includes plastic garbage bags. Please, do not leave your recyclables in a garbage bag! Someone has to physically tear that bag open in order to recycle the contents. Empty your bag of recyclables into the bin and take the bag back home to use again. Think of all the bags you'll save!

All metal food and drink cans, along with empty aerosol cans, can be recycled. No other metal items should be placed in the bin. Please take scrap metal to a scrap-metal dealer.

Most people find that by recycling all they can, especially if they compost food and yard waste, they reduce what they put in their trash by 80 percent or more. Do your part and join your neighbors in their efforts to divert valuable resources from the waste stream and into the reuse and recycling streams.

If you have any question regarding the West Nile Virus Program or the county's recycling program, please contact Greg Reineke at the Fulton County Conservation District at 717-485- 3547, extension 120.

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