Davis County Mosquito Abatement District personnel picked up 60 sentinel chickens late last week, which have been distributed to 12 sites countywide, according to Gary Hatch, director of the district.
On Monday district crews conducted baseline tests to ensure that the birds are virus-free, and they will be tested weekly between the first week in June and the last week in September.
Hatch said this year's hotter spring, means an expected increase in mosquitoes. And, he said, the culex mosquito, one of the major carriers of the West Nile virus came on earlier than in most years. "We are expecting virus activity to be up this year."
Last year in Davis County, there were 11 human cases of West Nile Virus reported, four cases in horses, three in birds, and four in chickens with 42 mosquito pools testing positive.
Because Hatch expects higher numbers this year, the abatement district is already preparing.
Hatch said district personnel have already begun spraying for adult mosquitoes and will begin spraying for larvae this week. Next week, they will begin making mosquito-eating fish available to the public for ornamental ponds.
Hatch said that this year there is a new tool in fighting against mosquito bites. A new repellent, Picaridin will be available in several popular repellent brands, including Cutter and OFF.
Hatch said the new formula is no better at repelling mosquitoes than DEET, but it is less oily and has a more pleasant smell, making it preferable to many, especially to those who will be outside for only a short time.
Hatch said Picaridin is no better than DEET -- "Deet is still the best" -- but it has the endorsement of the Centers for Disease Control as an effective repellent.
The mosquitoes which carry the virus, bite only between sunset and sunrise, so those who will be out of doors in the evening hours, should also wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.