Visitors are asked not to leave standing water in flower containers or vases at grave sites
VISALIA – Leaving flowers at the grave site of a lost loved one is an important part of the grieving process. Unfortunately, the standing water left in flower containers can lead to the spread of a serious diseases.
The Visalia Public Cemetery District announced last week that more than two-thirds of the flower containers at grave sites that had standing water contained mosquito larvae for Aedes aegypti, an invasive mosquito that is known to carry and transmit several human diseases including dengue, chikungunya, yellow fever and Zika.
No larvae was found in containers that had been filled with sand. Vases, other containers, deflated balloons and small mementos that hold water also tested positive for the mosquito larvae. Cemetery Manager Cindy Summers said the cemetery district is working with the Delta Vector Control District to control the container breeding of the mosquito. Delta Vector will be spraying the cemetery every Wednesday night this month but the schedule is subject to change based on weather conditions. The larvicide settles into containers and kills mosquito larvae, preventing them from hatching into biting adults. The chemical to be applied VectorBac WDG, is an Environmental Protection Agency registered and Organic Material Review Institute approved product.
“It is very safe and highly specific for mosquito larvae,” Summers said.
She also asking for public’s help in preventing the breeding of mosquitoes by filling their cemetery vases with sand or turn them over to help eliminate standing water. Sand is available for the publics use at the cemetery. No balloons or mementos that hold water should be left at grave sites.
For questions or concerns about the mosquito and abatement efforts at the cemetery, contact the Delta Vector Control District at 559-732-8606 or the Visalia Public Cemetery District at 559-734-6181.
Aedes aegypti is a small (approx. ¼ inch), black and white day-biting mosquito that prefers to feed on humans. It lives in urban habitats, lays its eggs just above the water surface in small containers such as flower pots, plant saucers, pet bowls, and bird baths. It is not native to California but has been detected in man California counties since first arriving in 2013.
While these viruses are not currently transmitted in California, they are periodically introduced by international travelers including Mexico. If a large population of Aedes aegypti is established in the area, a single travel associated case of one of these diseases could introduce the virus to local mosquitoes and Tulare County residents could be at risk of becoming infected.