Ritchie: Mosquito Dunk Kits Will Help Fight EEE, West Nile

State Senator Patty Ritchie has announced that homeowners and farmers will once again be able to take advantage of a free tool to help fight mosquitoes and the spread of the deadly EEE and West Nile viruses.

Available on a first come, first serve basis at Soil and Water District offices in Jefferson, St. Lawrence, Oswego, Madison and Onondaga counties, free  larvicide “dunk” treatment kits are placed in standing water, where mosquitoes breed, and help to kill larvae for up to thirty days.

“The region I represent is a hotbed for mosquito borne diseases, and it’s important to remember that combating EEE, West Nile and other viruses is a team effort,” said Senator Ritchie. “I’m pleased to once again able to secure the funding necessary to provide these free mosquito dunk treatment kits, which will help homeowners in the region I represent and beyond join the fight and help prevent any future tragedies or loss of life.”

“With the arrival of warmer weather, it’s now even more important to be vigilant in our fight against mosquitoes and the diseases they carry,” said John DeHollander, District manager of the Oswego County Soil and Water Conservation District, who has been coordinating distribution of the larvicide products. “I would like to once again thank Senator Ritchie for being a tremendous partner in Oswego County’s fight against EEE and other deadly diseases.”

EEE is a mosquito-borne virus that affects horses and other livestock, and rarely occurs in humans.

Five human deaths in New York since 1971 all have occurred in Oswego and Onondaga counties, while dozens of horses have succumbed in the six counties included in the larvicide program.

Locally, the free mosquito-fighting kits are available at the below locations:

Jefferson County Soil and Water Conservation District
21168 State Route 232
Watertown, New York 13601
(315) 782-2749

Kits will also be distributed at the Jefferson County Fair, which takes place from July 14-19 in Watertown.

Oswego County Soil and Water Conservation District
3105 State Route 3
Fulton, New York 13069
(315) 592-9663

Kits are also available at town offices throughout Oswego County.

St. Lawrence County Soil and Water Conservation District
1942 Old DeKalb Road
Canton, New York 13617
(315) 386-3582

The larvicide program is part of a sweeping effort by Senator Ritchie to educate the public and help prevent mosquito borne diseases.

Other steps have included:

Securing more than a half million dollars in additional State Budget funding, including $175,000 in the current year’s budget, to  help fight EEE;

Supporting free waste tire disposal events that have removed more than 30,000 tires, which act as breeding ground for mosquitoes, from the region’s backyards and roadsides;

Sponsoring legislation that created the 21st Century Workgroup for Disease Elimination and Reduction, a special panel of state health experts who are seeking ways to push for a human vaccine for EEE and other diseases, which just held its first meeting earlier this month;

Hosting vaccine clinics to protect horses and raise awareness among farmers and horse owners about the dangers of EEE; and

Distribution of an educational video on EEE, as well as more than 100,000 informational pamphlets in five years to schools and community organizations.

Tips on protecting yourself from mosquito borne diseases can be found on Senator Ritchie’s website, www.ritchie.nysenate.gov