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What does the county do to treat retention ponds for mosquitoes?

Vicky Eckenrode
StarNews

Most retention ponds have enough water in them that minnows and fish keep mosquito levels under control, said Dave Jenkins, an environmental health specialist with New Hanover County’s health department.

Jenkins said the department, which handles mosquito control for the county and Wilmington, will go out to ponds that either hold too little water for minnows to live or that have been dry and fill up with water after a heavy rain.

He said he has tried to find geographic information system data showing all the retention ponds in the county to monitor them better but has been unable to find anyone with those records.

Meanwhile, Jenkins said staffers know some of the ponds around the county that can be problem areas or they can check out ones called in by residents.

He said they have stocked minnows and Gambusia affinis – or mosquitofish – in some retention ponds.

Many of the ponds around commercial developments – though likely to be large enough for mosquito-eating minnows – are maintained by those property owners, Jenkins said.

Like many local government departments, Jenkins’ office is down in manpower because of tight budgets.

“We’re short-staffed like a lot of people in the county, but we do our best to take those complaints into heavy consideration,” he said.

Jenkins said the easiest thing for residents to do at this point in the year to control mosquitoes is to check for and empty standing water around their yards.

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