mosquitoes that carry West Nile Virus have arrived, what can I do?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by OrpingtonManor, Apr 7, 2009.

  1. OrpingtonManor

    OrpingtonManor Building the Castle

    Nov 15, 2008
    Martinez, CA
    I'm not sure if I am posting in the right category, so apologies if I am in the wrong place.

    My little city has been the first to find mosquitoes carrying the West Nile Virus in our county. I know it is dangerous to birds, so my question is --

    What can I do to protect my chickens?

    I already have screens on the windows of the coop, but there are still ways for the buggers to get in. Plus, I let the girls free-range until dark, which is prime time for mosquitoes. I have been building a run, and as soon as it is complete, the pop door will also be an entry point for insects.

    Is there a vaccine available for birds? (I think there is one available for horses, since it is also very bad for them.)

    What has anyone else done to reduce the risk of WNV? Has anyone had a chicken that caught it? Did the bird die? Any info would be appreciated.


  2. farmgirlie1031

    farmgirlie1031 Songster

    Apr 26, 2008
    I'm not really sure what you can do for birds since most bug sprays are toxic to birds. My uncle's horses got it before they had the vaccine for horses and it almost killed them. I would spray around the doors and windows with bug spray and let it dry really well before putting the birds back in the coop to help repel the nasty bugs.
  3. mamaKate

    mamaKate Songster

    Sep 9, 2008
    SE MO
    I live on recovered swampland in SE MO. Our town is also bordered on two sides with rice farms. I plan to use screen wire over all openings when I build my coop. I don't think there is much else to be done.
  4. OrpingtonManor

    OrpingtonManor Building the Castle

    Nov 15, 2008
    Martinez, CA
    Thanks for the responses.

    I don't spray anything on my property, and my neighbors follow the same pest management strategy. There might be a way to use lemon eucalyptus oil, since that is now an approved repellant for human use.

    I could consider putting screen on the run, in addition to the chicken wire and hardware cloth. Then the girls would just have to be inside the coop and run before the mosquitoes made the nightly appearance. But it's viable.

    Thanks to all.

  5. bayouchica

    bayouchica Songster

    Jan 23, 2007
    N.E. Louisiana
  6. OrpingtonManor

    OrpingtonManor Building the Castle

    Nov 15, 2008
    Martinez, CA
    Quote:Excellent to know. (Especially since Nifty and I live in the same county.)

    I got a call from my dad this morning about this. He was quite worried, and wanted to know what I was going to do to protect the chickens. I hope this will put his mind at ease.

    Thanks so much!
  7. Osprey

    Osprey In the Brooder

    Mar 13, 2009
    Cambridge, MD
    I work for the Mosquito Control section of our Dept of Agriculture here in MD, the best thing you can do is try to keep the mosquito population down! One of the worst species for WNV is the Asian Tiger Mosquito, which is a container breeder. Emptty ALL water holding containers around your home, including flower pots, buckets, old bottles, get rid of any old tires, watch tarps that hold pools of water, keep house gutters clean so water doesn't pool, etc. Anything that holds water for 5 days will breed them, the Tigers bite all day, but luckily they don't fly far from hatching sites.

    Only a few species are good carriers of WNV, so just because you have skeeters doesn't mean WNV. Luckily (not sure that's the right word) I deal mainly with salt marsh skeeters in my area. They are very poor WNV carriers, even though I've got 'em at landing rates over 100 per minute most of the summer.

    Mosquitoes could be bad in many urban/suburban areas this year. Foreclosures are the reason, because empty houses that have non-maintained pools become awesome breeding sites smack in the middle of neighborhoods. If you have such a place nearby, or think you have a spot bugs are coming from, call your local health or Agriculture department, they may be able to treat it for larvae and keep it from producing adult mosquitoes.

    WNV is pretty much everywhere now. We had it bad for a few years, but it seems to really spike when it first moves into an area. After a few years it really slacks off, probably from a building resistance in hosts.

    By the way, we quit running chickens for testing years ago in MD, way easier to just test mosquitoes for the virus. A normal surveillance/collection program with light traps or gravid traps provides plenty of bugs to test!

  8. farrier!

    farrier! Songster

    Feb 28, 2009
    Southern Illinois
    Osprey, that you for posting the control measures!

    I will add that when we had our farm I had goldfish in every water tank. People made comments about our lack of mosquitoes.
    Now we are on chlorinated city water... [​IMG]
  9. OrpingtonManor

    OrpingtonManor Building the Castle

    Nov 15, 2008
    Martinez, CA
    We empty anything that can hold water here as a matter of course. Since our summers are dry (maybe 1 rainy day between May and October) it is easy to keep standing water to a minimum. Still, an occasional mosquito shows up. I am about 1 mile from a large tidal body of water, so not sure if that affects the mosquitoes we see. Can they breed in brackish water?

    There are no foreclosures in my neighborhood, but there are probably some in the neighborhoods about a mile away. How far will mosquitoes travel?

    One last question... since chickens don't get sick from WNV, but can have it in their blood, is it safe to eat the eggs from a chicken that has it?


  10. Earthologie

    Earthologie In the Brooder

    Mar 21, 2011
    I just found out that west nile virus is currently in my area in Ohio.

    I don't understand how wild birds can contract this disease, but not chickens?

    Is there anything I can do for them?

    I don't really want to spray them with bug spray as that could hurt them.

    My BIG chicken coop has fine little "cracks" here and there where mosquitos could get in.

    Also, does anyone know if dogs and goats can be affected by West Nile Virus?

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