Subject: Mosquito Fish. July 3, 2006.

If you remember, in the past, I have suggested that people
put mosquito fish in the ponds around the New Orleans area
so they won't have problems with the mosquitoes and the
diseases that they spread. Here is information about some
people who have proceeded to just that.


The Union Democrat
(JW That is a local newspaper in my area of Sonora,

Friday June 30, 2006

Fish to fight mosquitoes in Katrina-flooded pools.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - In a large aboveground pool here,
entomologists are breeding front-line mosquito fighters.
Hiding in the fibrous root systems dangling in the
brown water, these fighters are being raised to be
deployed to thousands of festering, flooded-out ponds and
hot tubs abandoned in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast
since Hurricane Katrina.
Their mission, devour mosguito larvae and potentially,
prevent the spread of diseases such as mosquito-born
encephalitis and the sometimes deadly West Nile virus.
In the process, they'll help minimize one of this region's
most annoying summer pests.

"They're incredible little fish' said Greg Thompson, a
research entomologist for the New Orleans Mosquito and
Termite Control Board, as he sprinkled flakes of fish
food into the havesting pool.

The fish have been used to control mosquito populations
since the 1930s, but this post-KIatrina offensive marks
the first time they've been harvested by the thousands
for deposit into pools that have become scummy breeding
tandks for mosquito larvae.
The abundance of standing water and hot summer
temperatures create a mosquito-breeding haven. And with
as many as 6,000 abandoned pools in New Orleans alone,
mosquito experts say the tiny fish are their biggest
allies in protecting the Gulf Coast from a nasty mosquito
"Just a bucket of water can breed thousands of
mosquitoes," said Ashley Gray, a college student interning
this summer with the mosquito control board.
The mosquito fish, which are native to the region, are
surface-breathers and capable of surviving in polluted
water with low oxygen levels. Thier primary food source
is mosquito larvae, though they also can live off algae.
Fast reproducers, one female can give live birth to
up to 100 babies ever 30 days or so. Each can gobble as
many as 100 mosquito larvae a day.
The fish can survive for years and will eat their young
if the population gets too high, reducing the risk of
overpopulation, said Steve Sackett,
another research entomologist for the
mosqujito control board.

Sackett and his team, with about a
dozen volunteers, have put fish into
more thatn 1,000 pools since
April 17.

In some cases, they found pools that already ahd
fish living in them, deposited from ditches and other
waterways during the massive flooding that followed the
August storm. Some pools also have become home of other
natural mosquito predators like beetles, frogs, turtles
and aquatic insects.

"The pools have become poonds," Sacket said.
So far this year, a severe drought has helped keep
mosquitor larvae to a miniumum, and there have been no
reports of West Nile virus in Louisiana, according to
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
There have been a least four reports of West Nile in
humans in other states: two in Texas, one in Mississippi
and one in Colorado.
Last year, Louisiana had 188 West Nile virus cases,
including 11 deaths.
The state's worst West Nile season was in 2002, when
it had 329 cases and 25 deaths.
Now that the summer heat has set in, mosquitoes are
laying eggs, and mosqujito control officials say they're
concerned about what will happen when the drought ends
and the Gulf Coast starts getting more rain.
"If we get into a period of heavy rainfall, all the
containers -containers in abandoned yards, toys, boats
and everything else that can hold water - are perfect
reservoirs for mosquito breeding, " Sackett said.
(JW I still think it would be a good idea to borrow
a few million of the fish from our Govenor Arnold B.
and the government, here in Calif. Then spray them from
air planes over the entire area. I recently went out
to a small lake where I had caught mosquito fish before
and caught around 200 of them. I then put them in the
same pond that is on the sides of the road going to
Columbia, Calif. If you remember, I put some in there
last year, then about 40,000 frogs came into the pond.
Some of those frogs are now big frogs that can be caught
and people eat them as frog legs. I even saw something
that looked like a trout in that water this year.
Please don't think it was espcially my suggestion to
use mosquito fish that caused the people to use the
fish in this way of New Orleans.)

John Winston.