Doña Ana County Vector Control battles mosquito population
Free mosquito eating fish available
LAS CRUCES, N.M. — Doña Ana County Vector Control has been hard at work battling a mosquito population that could potentially be carrying the West Nile Virus.
The New Mexico Department of Health confirmed Friday a 54-year-old Doña Ana County man has the virus.
"You don't want to get into a panic or knee-jerk reaction," said Vector Control Supervisor Ken Scholar. "What you're doing is working and you keep it level because everybody needs service."
Scholar said he has been working up to 80 hour weeks spraying as much as possible.
He said the recent storms have hurt the work he and his staff of five have been doing, but they are still holding their ground.
"The wind and the rain toyed with us especially down south," Scholar said. "We were just washed out run after run."
The rain has also made for a lot more areas with stagnant water, the perfect breeding grounds for mosquitos.
Scholar said getting rid of that stagnant water is the only way the mosquito population can be controlled.
Another one of their techniques is the use of environmentally friendly gambusia fish in ponds and other bodies of water.
The small one inch fish kill and eat mosquitos up to five times their own weight.
"Even if the gambusia is full and can't eat them, he'll continue to kill and drown them," Scholar said. "They are hard wired to kill mosquito larvae."
Scholar said the county has been using the fish since 1953.
About a dozen fish in standing water can kill an entire mosquito population on a half acre of land.
The fish can be placed in any stagnant water source and once the water recedes, nature takes its course.
"If the water dries down on them, they're a natural bird food," Scholar said.
The county will be giving away free gambusia fish at the minnow pond in Las Cruces Saturday. Bringing your own bucket is recommended.
Free Gambusia Fish
Saturday, Aug. 25th
9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
4605 W. Picacho Ave.