Floating fire ants, insect pests among flood hazards

by Gabriel Saldana, Texas A&M AgriLife

Fire ants, as their colonies begin to flood, can join feet or tarsi to form water rafts, and they are more aggressive once in the floating formation, according to Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service entomologists. But other insect pests can also pose human threats in flood conditions, they said.

Dr. Paul Nester, AgriLife Extension entomologist, Houston, and Dr. Mike Merchant, AgriLife Extension urban entomologist, Dallas, encourage those affected by flooding to stay prepared and aware of pests, especially when it comes to mosquitoes, floating fire ant colonies and bedbugs. Continue reading

New study suggests more deaths from West Nile virus than predicted

In HealthDay News

by Randy Dotinga, HealthDay News

A new study suggests that the death toll from the mosquito-borne West Nile virus might be much greater than thought because its effects may often kill people months or years after infection.

“We are hoping our research findings will help encourage a push to develop a vaccine that can help prevent disease and premature death,” said study co-author Dr Kristy Murray, an associate professor with National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. “At this time, the only way people can prevent the disease is protecting themselves from mosquito bites, which can sometimes be difficult to do.” Continue reading

Zika Response Program seeks Vector Control Specialist

The Public Health Foundation Enterprises (PHFE) and the Vector-Borne Disease Section (VBDS) of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) are recruiting for the position of Vector Control Specialist within the West Nile Virus and Other Arboviral Diseases Program, with an emphasis on Zika virus. The purpose of the project is to develop and implement effective surveillance, prevention, and control of Zika and other Aedes-borne arboviruses (e.g., dengue, chikungunya) that occur or are imported into California. These viruses are potentially transmitted by Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes, which are found in several regions of California. The Vector Control Specialist will provide statewide consultation and training on Aedes mosquito surveillance, prevention, and control, and pesticide resistance testing, as indicated. Duties performed aim to reduce the risk of vector-borne disease transmission to California residents and visitors. The Vector Control Specialist will interact with numerous local vector control agencies, county public health jurisdictions, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to perform essential functions.

For more information, see the North Central IPM Center’s Connection newsletter.

Zika is making headlines, but West Nile virus may be more prevalent this year

In Georgia FACES

By Merritt Melancon, University of Georgia

With its shocking impact on babies and mothers, the Zika virus has gotten a lot of attention. However, some entomologists are looking at the current, abnormally dry weather and becoming concerned that another mosquito-borne illness could become a threat later this summer.

Climatically, the stage has been set for West Nile virus to spread later this summer, said Elmer Gray, a public health entomologist with University of Georgia Cooperative Extension. Continue reading

How to protect yourself from mosquitoes this summer

In Delta Farm Press

by Randy LaBauve, LSU AgCenter

Summer is not far away, and with it will come swarms of mosquitoes, which bring the threat of West Nile virus, eastern equine encephalitis and the potential for other diseases like Zika virus. That’s why it’s important for people to distinguish fact from fiction when choosing a plan of defense to fight their bites.

“West Nile virus is something we’re going to have to deal with annually,” said Kristen Healy, LSU AgCenter medical entomologist. “So whether or not Zika virus becomes an issue in Louisiana, it’s important to remember that you should always protect yourself from mosquitoes.” Continue reading

Texas horse owners encouraged to vaccinate in preventing mosquito-borne neurologic diseases

by Blair Fannin, Texas A&M AgriLife

Texas horse owners are urged to have their animals vaccinated to fend off the threat of West Nile virus and eastern equine encephalitis.

Dr. Terry Hensley, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service veterinarian and Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory assistant agency director in College Station, said horse owners can easily unintentionally overlook annual vaccinations. Continue reading

It’s that West Nile time of year!

Well folks, it’s that time of year again…. The smell of hot dogs roasting on the grill and the sweet taste of grandma’s famous cobbler are the best ways to celebrate July 4th.  The summer holiday is sure to draw families and friends outdoors; however, agricultural workers spend long hours outside all summer long.  Before you walk out the door for work or play, remember to prepare for your extra summer companion, the mosquito. With the recent flooding in our area, we have to be extra cautious of the growing population of mosquitoes.

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Five projects will help solve problems in agriculture & urban settings

Five projects funded for a total of $727,869 will explore new ways to manage mite-vectored wheat diseases, examine the dispersal and life history of the kudzu bug, test ways to manage spotted wing drosophila (SWD), develop online training for mosquito control and research ways to deal with bed bugs. All of the projects were funded by the USDA Southern Regional IPM grant program.

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West Nile outbreak cost Texas $47 million in medical care and lost productivity

From the Star-Telegram

The cost for acute medical care and lost productivity related to the Texas outbreak of West Nile virus in 2012 likely exceeded $47 million, according to a new study released Wednesday.

The state’s 1,886 cases demonstrated the need for ongoing mosquito surveillance and the necessity of developing an effective vaccine, said Dr. Kristy Murray, who led the research conducted by the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

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It’s mosquito season again and time for a few reminders

I’m sure many of you have seen dozens of articles about mosquitoes, especially during this time of year. However, since mosquitoes can carry pathogens that cause a variety of serious diseases, I think the tips on ways to prevent mosquitoes in your yard bear repeating.

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