Vector Control Cracking Down on Mosquitoes Via Storm Drains

RENO, NV - Washoe County's Vector Control is working from the air and ground to keep mosquito populations at bay. For the last couple of months, a helicopter has dropped pellets into wetland areas to stop mosquitoes from breeding. A fog machine was used Friday morning. The abatement program is also covering local neighborhoods, by lifting storm drains and treating free standing water.

Nursing Student McCain Smith looks like she may be on a nice bike ride.

But she's an intern with a mission.

During the last couple of months she's been opening up and collecting water from neighborhood storm drains.

She's looking for mosquito larvae.

“People are always asking me about what we put in the drains because there are kids, and pets, and raccoons in the area. You know, no one wants any poison around or anything dangerous. And luckily this is a safe product,” says McCain.

“Take a look and sample these catch basins and they are like little incubators. They produce hundreds of mosquito larvae that will turn into adults,” says Jim Schafer, Vector Control Coordinator.

The program has been going on for the last ten years locally.

McCain believes she's treated thousands and thousands of storm drains in her past three summers.

The pellets she uses are not harmful to the water supply, humans or pets.

They instead act like the flea collar and prevent mosquito eggs from maturing.

“If you keep them in the water, you won't have a flying, biting, West Nile-spreading adult mosquito,” says Jeff Jeppson, Vector Borne Disease Specialist.

The bike McCain uses is a new addition to the storm drain project.

This is the second year interns have used it and they say they are able to treat twice as many storm drains when compared to walking the neighborhoods.