APPENDIX II-AZ: Gambusia affinis: Fish instead of Spraying
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Tiny fish help stop spread of mosquitoes
Record Staff Writer
A small fish with an
insatiable appetite and a knack for producing offspring is fast becoming a
popular weapon in
The San Joaquin County Mosquito and Vector Control District has offered the aptly named mosquitofish - scientists know them as Gambusia affinis - free of charge for years to prevent the spread of mosquitoes in the spring and summer, district spokesman Aaron Devencenzi said. The fish are placed in unused swimming pools, water troughs, backyard ponds and other isolated water containers where mosquitoes lay eggs.
Mosquitoes breed in standing water, and the silver, minnow-size fish are known to gobble the larvae as they hatch. "They pretty much eat anything they can get ahold of," Devencenzi said.
More residents began asking
for the fish after
"This is one way we can control mosquitoes without having to spray" insecticide, Devencenzi said.
Michael Perez, a 71-year-old Collegeville resident, plans to put mosquitofish in the backyard pond his daughter recently built to keep the pesky insects off his property. He owns a small ranch on which he raises steer, chickens and sheep, and he wants to make sure both his family and his animals are protected from the virus.
Perez also hopes the fish
will save some of the wild birds that often flock to his rural property. Dead
birds often are a sign that
"Every year at this time, these swallows will come and build their nest here," Perez said. "Hopefully, that'll protect them."
Most people who contract
the virus show no symptoms. About one in five develops the flulike
No trace of the virus has surfaced in the county so far this year.
The county's mosquitofish
are raised and stored in 13 ponds near
Officials hope increased
usage of mosquitofish will lower the number of mosquitoes in the county this
year, although they still stress other measures to avoid the virus, such as
using insect repellent, wearing long sleeves and long pants, emptying standing
water that can be drained and staying indoors at dusk and dawn. Even though
"We're always preparing for the worst," Devencenzi said. "We don't have a crystal ball. With this disease, we don't know."
Contact reporter Greg Kane at (209) 546-8276 or email@example.com.
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