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Colorado Mosquito Control Looking For West Nile Virus

By Kathy Walsh

DENVER (CBS4) - While the headlines are about the Zika virus, the mosquito experts in Colorado are gearing up to control the spread of a different virus -- West Nile.

"It's still a little early in the summer," a field technician with Colorado Mosquito Control said.

He was dipping in a neighborhood pond, looking for larvae. Still water is a home for mosquitos.

"The Culex, they'll start popping up more a little later in the summer," the technician said.

Culex tarsalis mosquito
A culex tarsalis mosquito (credit:

Culex tarsalis is the main mosquito that carries West Nile virus.

"It's possible that there's West Nile out there already, but not in large amounts yet. It's too early," said Michael Weissmann, Ph.D., the Chief Entomologist for Colorado Mosquito Control.

But the company is gearing up and identifying what larvae they do find. Technicians will drop larvicide in standing water where needed to kill the insects. And they'll also track adult mosquitos.

"Our trapping begins this next week and we're going to be monitoring the adult mosquitos, see how many are out there," said Weissmann.

Aedes aegypti mosquito
An Aedes aegypti mosquito (credit:

Weissmann says he can't predict what this summer will bring. But he can say we won't see Aedes aegypti in Colorado, the mosquito that carries the Zika virus. It needs warm temperatures, no freezing. It could show up here, but wouldn't survive.

"The mosquito that carries Zika virus does not occur in Colorado, will not establish in Colorado. Zika virus is not going to be a factor here in Colorado," said Weissmann.

LINK: Colorado Department of Health's West Nile Virus Page

Additional Information From The Colorado Department Of Public Health And Environment

To help prevent West Nile virus infection, follow the four D's:

– DRAIN standing water around your house weekly. Remember to drain water from tires, cans, flowerpots, clogged rain gutters, rain barrels, toys and puddles.
– DUSK and DAWN are when mosquitoes are most active. Limit outdoor activities and take precautions to prevent mosquito bites during these times.
– DEET is an effective ingredient to look for in insect repellents. Always follow label instructions carefully.
– DRESS in long sleeves and pants in areas where mosquitoes are active.
For more information about West Nile virus,

Kathy Walsh is CBS4's Weekend Anchor and Health Specialist. She has been with CBS4 for more than 30 years. She is always open to story ideas. Follow Kathy on Twitter @WalshCBS4.


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