Dona Ana County helps residents prevent mosquito breeding

LAS CRUCES, N.M. - Standing water is the breeding ground for mosquitoes.

Now that summer is here, farmers across the borderland are irrigating their fields.

With all the standing water on acres of land, you may think it's a major potential for mosquito breeding.

One local farmer told ABC-7 that's not the case.

"We want the water gone in 24 hours. Fortunately for us that's not enough time for mosquitoes to breed. We actually have very small areas where standing water enough time to harbor mosquitoes," said Greg Daviet, the farm manager for Dixie Ranch.

Workers spend a majority of the day outside, exposed to the risk of being bitten by mosquitoes.

"It's more than just an annoyance. It's a health risk. Everyone's heard of West Nile so we're really concerned about that," Daviet said.

West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne diseases are very real risks in Dona Ana County.

Last year there were 11 human cases of West Nile in the county.

"We all know a little bit about how heavy last season was. The best in the business, the CDC biologists are telling us that West Nile is not predictable in terms of where its going to emerge. Any level of mosquito population interacting with birds can transmit the virus," said Ken Sholer, the supervisor for Dona Ana County Vector Control.

Daviet said his pecan fields aren't usually prone to mosquito breeding, but that could change in monsoon season.

"Rain can alter all of that. When we get heavy rain sometimes that stands for a long time. It's difficult to get that water off the surface. It's the heavy monsoonal storms that gives us the most trouble," he said.

Daviet said his workers protect themselves by covering up, wearing long sleeves and using bug repellant.

The county is also giving away Gambusia fish free of charge. These fish can be placed in standing water. They will eat mosquito larvae that grow in standing water.

Fish will be given away Mondays and Tuesdays from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. at the Minnow Pond located at 4605 W. Picacho Avenue. To make an appointment to get fish, call Vector Control at 575-526-8150.

You do not have to be a county resident to get the fish.

The county will also help spray insecticides on any properties with large bodies of standing water.

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