Starting on Monday, June 10, the Allegheny County Health Department began treating storm water catch basins in selected areas of Pittsburgh with pesticides to combat the breeding of mosquitoes that can carry the West Nile virus.
Any catch basin that holds water is a breeding ground for mosquitoes during the heat of summer. Treatment with pesticides can keep mosquito larvae from emerging into full-fledged adults capable of spreading disease to humans.
The pesticides, which are non-toxic to people, pets and aquatic life, inhibit mosquito breeding and are deposited manually in catch basins. Treated basins are marked with a bright green paint.
Health Department staff will treat about 10,000 catch basins in certain areas of Pittsburgh, including eastern and western wards as well as wards on the North Side and South Side, which have a history in previous years of West Nile activity.
The treatments will continue daily until all the catch basins are treated and take place weekdays from 4 to 9 p.m., but may be postponed when heavy rains are forecast.
Health officials say residents can also help reduce the mosquito population by eliminating and treating breeding sites on their own private property. Inexpensive but effective pesticides similar to what the Health Department uses are available at hardware stores and home improvement centers.