County health department, city will partner to battle mosquitos

·2 min read

Jul. 14—As mosquitos continue to plague Norman, the city has partnered with the Cleveland County Health Department to spread resources and awareness on controlling the insects.

The partnership with the health department will allow leaders to better educate and assist the community with the sudden boom in the local mosquito population.

The health department and the city will provide pop-up events in the most affected areas of Norman to ensure easy access to free larvicide, mosquito safety education and additional mosquito prevention resources, the city said.

"The city is excited to partner with the Cleveland County Health Department to assist with our mosquito program in Norman," Jason Olsen, director of Parks and Recreation with the City of Norman, said in a statement. "Even though the mosquito program may look a little different now than in the past, the health and wellbeing of our residents and neighbors is the most important thing when dealing with these pests."

As previously reported by The Transcript, the rise in mosquito numbers comes after a record amount of rainfall during the month of June. The city will not be spraying for mosquitos this year, citing its concern for important local pollinators that would also be killed by the spray.

In response to the insects, the city has activated its Vector Mosquito Monitoring program, which monitors 14 districts across the city and provides daily updates through the use of light-based mosquito traps.

If a trap captures 50 or more female mosquitoes, a public health notice will be issued. That's when the city and the health department will bring in their educational and resource-focused pop-up events to help those affected locations.

"Because mosquitos are so dependent on the weather and local conditions, a targeted approach to mosquito prevention can have a significant impact," Amy Allen, the environmental health supervisor at the Cleveland County Health Department, said in a press release. "Providing education and increasing access to free larvicide to individuals in our communities gives them a greater ability to change the mosquito population in their own neighborhoods, and reduce the risk of mosquito-borne illnesses."

In addition to the Vector Monitoring, the city will also continue to treat areas like ponds and drainage ditches with larvicide to eradicate eggs laid by flood mosquitos, which are attracted to areas submerged in water.

Reese Gorman covers COVID-19, local politics and elections for The Transcript; reach him at rgorman@normantranscript.com or @reeseg_3.

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