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August 12, 2011

Safety

Take precautions against mosquitoes,

stinging insects

Potential encounters with mosquitoes and stinging insects are part of summer at Fort McCoy.

Harley Sampson Jr. and David Olson, pest controllers for the Directorate of Public Works Joint Venture Fort McCoy, work to help control the summer pests.
PHOTO: A Fort McCoy pest controller, checks a wooded, low-lying area in for standing water. Photo by Rob Schuette
Harley Sampson Jr., a Fort McCoy pest controller, checks a wooded, low-lying area in the cantonment area for standing water. Standing water can become a mosquito breeding area. (Photo by Rob Schuette)

“We always have a mosquito population,” Sampson said. “It’s normal for this time of the year.”

Fortunately, the installation has not sustained rainy weather or standing water to serve as mosquito breeding grounds, he said.

Sampson said mosquitoes can breed in anything that can retain water, including tires, containers, flower pots, bird baths, swimming pools, tarps, garbage cans or lids, low-lying or damp areas, etc.

“Any time you see something that contains water outdoors you should tip it over and empty the water, if you can,” Sampson said. “If you’re going into barracks or using vehicles that haven’t been used for a couple of weeks be sure to check for standing water.”

People at Fort McCoy can protect themselves against mosquitoes by staying indoors at dawn or dusk, when mosquitoes are at their peak.

Wearing proper clothing, such as long pants and shirts with sleeves to limit skin exposure and using insect repellent, such as DEET on exposed skin also can help protect against mosquitoes, and other pests, such as wood and deer ticks.

Troops also can get pretreated uniforms with insect repellent.

Anyone who sees an unsafe situation with mosquitoes in the cantonment area can report it to their chain of command or call the Directorate of Public Works (DPW) help line at 608-388-4357 (HELP).

Troops also should be on the lookout for stinging insects, such as wasps and bees, Sampson said. The presence of these species isn’t always obvious as they can hide in equipment or buildings that haven’t been used in several weeks.

“The best advice is to leave them alone,” Sampson said. “Unlike mosquitoes that are looking for a blood meal from a host, these insects feed on other insects or nectar or pollen from flowers, so they’re beneficial and normally not aggressive toward people. However, if you get too close to their nests or disturb them, they can become aggressive.”

Wasps and bumble bees can be particularly dangerous because they can sting their victims multiple times, he said. Anyone who has severe allergic reactions to stings should take the proper precautions and ensure they have access to antidotes, if necessary.

If nests become a hazard in the cantonment area, call the DPW help line at 608-388-4357 (HELP).

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