Mosquito surveillance and control operations begin soon in Franklin County

25 March 2024- The Franklin County Commissioners are reminding residents that the county’s annual mosquito surveillance and control efforts begin April 1. These efforts will continue through late September and will occur in high-population areas where there is an increased likelihood people will be bitten by an infected mosquito.

Jason Goetz, a mosquito and tick-borne disease control specialist with the Franklin County Planning Department, and other county staff will first survey for mosquitoes both in their adult and larvae forms and will then determine the best method of control. Adult mosquitoes, which prefer treelines and dense vegetation near stagnant water, will be trapped, counted, identified by species and then sent to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection in Harrisburg to be tested for West Nile Virus.

Staff will also collect “dip samples” of stagnant bodies of water to survey for mosquito larvae breeding areas and to determine the best course of treatment to eliminate the larval source.

During the surveillance period, residents may notice county staff using backpack sprayers or truck-mounted sprayers to deploy larvicides and adulticides. Staff will also place traps in predominantly public areas. All traps are clearly labeled, and all truck-mounted sprays are announced publicly at least 24 hours in advance on the Franklin County website, www.franklincountypa.gov, as well as through the county’s social media channels and local media outlets.

In addition to mosquito population surveillance, staff will monitor ticks to evaluate the species, quantities and the presence of certain diseases in public-use areas. Ticks are collected and tested for a variety of pathogens, including Borrelia burgdorfei, which causes Lyme disease. Pennsylvania leads the U.S. in Lyme disease cases each year.

Unlike mosquitoes, there are no effective spraying methods to control ticks. Residents can protect themselves by applying insect repellent before entering a tick habitat and by checking themselves thoroughly for ticks after exiting the habitat.

For a more in-depth, comprehensive look at mosquito and tick surveillance and control methods, visit https://bit.ly/MTBDP or contact Goetz at 717-261-3855 or jgoetz@franklincountypa.gov.