How Do Forest Preserves Watch for West Nile?

June 13, 2018
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While we can take steps to protect ourselves from mosquitos, like wearing long sleeves and using bug spray with at least 20 to 30 percent DEET, the local forest preserves are also on lookout.

They set out traps like the Gravitrap, which uses stagnant grassy water as a lure for the flying pests.

“They fly towards the water, as they get close they get sucked up by the fan and blown into the net. We can then take them out of the net, identify and test them for West Nile,” explained Andres Ortega, ecologist for the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County.

West Nile has not been found in the DuPage Forest Preserve this year, though it has been found in Northern Illinois and Ortega said they expect to see positive cases here by August or September.

What the forest preserve doesn’t expect to see is Zika, though they do set out traps to monitor for the type of mosquito that carries that virus, just in case.

“There are two mosquitos that both fall under the Aedes genus, both are not native to the area. But one of them, considered the secondary carrier, has been seen in southern Illinois. And with changing temperatures they may be found up here,” said Ortega.

If you start to develop flu symptoms after a mosquito bite, Ortega says to check in with your physician.

Mosquitos can breed in pools of water as small as what would be left in a paper cup. One way of reducing the population around your home is by not leaving any standing containers of water around.

Naperville News 17’s Blane Erwin reports.