By Jim Melwert and Robin Culverwell
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – After finding mosquitos that could potentially carry the West Nile virus, the Philadelphia Department of Health will spray tonight in parts of Fairmount Park.
A machine mounted on a truck will begin spraying around dusk.
These treatments will be applied in the eastern part of Fairmount Park, focusing on the area around Robin Hood Dell East, and Smith Playground in the areas around Strawberry Mansion Drive, Reservoir and Kelly Drives and Ridge Avenue.
The city Department of Health says the mist is derived from the Chrysanthemum flower and has no ill effects to humans, but kills mosquitos on contact.
West Nile Virus numbers across Pennsylvania are up considerably, this year to last, According to the State Health Department, there have over a dozen human cases this year to date, including one death.
The fall weather can have a big impact on mosquito population. The humidity and the temperature drop and occasional rains keep the grass growing.
But that exact weather pattern can actually prove ideal for mosquitos to breed, says Delaware Valley College Biology Professor Dr. Chris Tipping:
“Long warm falls, with nice weekly rains, which is what we’ve been having, are ideal for these mosquitos.”
Very dry weather with a quick cool down would best kill the mosquito population – but that’s weeks away at best.
Tipping says avoiding outdoor activity at dusk and using an insect repellent containing DEET is your best protection against mosquitos.
“I usually put it on my clothes rather than my skin.”