Westchester County Recommends Using Fish To Kill Mosquitoes

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Apr 24, 2017 10:01 AM EDT

Fathead minnows can help eliminate mosquitoes by eating their eggs and pupae. (Photo : Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Mosquitoes are beginning to rise in numbers as summer draws near and Westchester County in southern New York wants to cooperate in knocking out these insects using fish. Fathead minnows can help eliminate mosquitoes in a stagnant water close to residential areas.

According to The Journal News, the county Health Department is offering free fathead minnows just like what can be caught in a local lake. This kind of fish eats mosquito eggs and pupae before they develop into troublesome adults and can cause mosquito-borne infections, including Zika, dengue, and chikungunya.

“These mosquito larvae-eating fathead minnows are voracious; they have a voracious appetite and that’s what they want to eat -they want to eat the larvae and mosquitoes,” Peter DeLucia, an assistant commissioner for environmental health said.

The district shipped in 250 pounds or almost 90,000 fathead minnows from an upstate fish farm certified by the state Department of Environmental Conservation. The program is now in its fourth year and is already famous among residents specifically following the Zika virus outbreaks in 2016, DeLucia said. In addition, West Nile virus was identified in mosquitoes caught by the county's tracked devices says authorities.

Rockland County also reported cases of West Nile virus infection from local mosquitoes, Patch reported. Fortunately, Zika infections were only identified to those who traveled from areas where the virus is rampant.

A spring time to get warmer is great, but it's also the beginning of mosquito season. Mosquitoes are generally perceived as an irritating pest, however, some of them carry mosquito-borne diseases thus fathead minnows are really a great help in eliminating them.

Aside from distributing fathead minnows, Westchester County Health Department will also put larvicide to basins, which are used in trapping mosquitoes starting in May. Moreover, it will station over 20 traps countywide in June to inspect mosquitoes. Battling these insects must be a teamwork of both the county and the residents, DeLucia said.

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