Allegheny County Treats Catch Basins to Slow Mosquito Breeding

They are one of the boring things of summer. Those pesky mosquitoes that bite and leave itchy bumps and welts on your skin for days.

But mosquitoes can also be deadly because they spread West Nile virus.

That’s why the Allegheny County Health Department is fighting mosquito breeding by treating catch basins in certain areas of Pittsburgh with pesticides.

“Catch ponds are an optimal breeding habitat for mosquitoes in an urban environment like Pittsburgh,” said Lori Horowitz, manager of the health department’s housing and community environment program. “The types of mosquitoes that breed in catch basins have the potential to spread diseases such as West Nile virus.”

The Department of Health says the ponds will be treated with a product that focuses on mosquito larvae to decrease the mosquito population and reduce the risk of West Nile spreading.

Treatments begin next Monday and continue until Friday, June 10 between 4:30 p.m. and 9 p.m.

For those concerned about the use of toxic chemicals, the Department of Health is doing its best to allay any fears the public may have. It states that the product used, FourStar, is non-toxic to people, pets and aquatic life. The active ingredient is a naturally occurring soil bacterium that kills mosquito larvae, the department said.

Small blocks of this will be placed in the sumps and the treated basins will be marked with bright green paint.

The department is also asking residents to take steps to help it in its efforts to keep the tiny insects from spreading disease.

“Residents can significantly reduce the mosquito population by eliminating and treating breeding sites on their own properties,” said Dr. Debra Bogen, director of the health department. “Mosquitoes can breed in standing water as little as ½ inch deep, so be sure to pay close attention to potential breeding sites like standing water in tires, unused swimming pools, buckets and clogged gutters.”

Steps the department recommends residents take to prevent mosquito breeding and shelter include draining all standing water from the property — such as saucers under flower pots, hot tub covers, wading pools , hollow stumps and garbage cans – cleaning out clogged gutters and roof drains, and not over-watering your garden.

To report potential mosquito breeding sites, contact the Department of Health at 412-687-2243.

Paul Guggenheimer is a staff writer for Tribune-Review. You can contact Paul at 724-226-7706 or [email protected]