The District has an extensive mosquito trapping program used to monitor mosquito populations and to detect diseases. Different types of traps are used depending on the environment, the species to be trapped, and the type of data needed.
The District uses sentinel chickens in rural parts of the county to detect West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne diseases. They serve as an early indicator of disease in areas where dead birds are less likely to be seen and/or reported.
From May through October, sentinel chickens are bled bi-weekly and their blood is tested for the presence of antibodies to West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne diseases. They are bled humanely by a lancet similar to a finger prick.
Dead birds and squirrels are often the first indicator that West Nile virus exists in an area. Certain species of birds are very susceptible to West Nile virus and will die quickly after infection, while others can live with the virus. Information on the species and location of infected birds is used to make calculated decisions on mosquito control.