April's Ag Advice by April Borders The spread of the West Nile Virus in South Dakota took people by surprise last year. It moved across the state and across the United States before we could think twice. It has caused great concern to all of us as we worry about our safety, our children's safety and the safety of our livestock. We have many questions, especially concerning available products, their effectiveness and safety.
All counties in South Dakota reached the threshold of five or more West Nile Virus detections and the virus is considered established in the state. Across the state 631 horses, 36 humans and 86 birds were confirmed to have West Nile Virus (WNV). In Clay County, seven horses and four birds were reported as having WNV.
As the spring approaches we wonder what will happen this year. Well, no one can predict what the year will bring but we can prepare ourselves and be educated. South Dakota Cooperative Extension Service is working with the South Dakota Department of Health, the South Dakota Municipal League, and the Cooperative Extension Service of Colorado and North Dakota to offer a training session via interactive video.
These training sessions are being offered to anyone who would be involved in controlling mosquitoes in populated areas. This would also include all commercial applicators that have a Category 9 (Public Health) certification. There is no charge for the training, but because of limited seating in some locations, pre-registration is required. These sessions are also open to the public, but government employees and others who will be dealing with mosquito control will have priority for seating.
For Clay County, the training will be offered on April 21 and then again on May 13 at the Yankton County Extension Office at 901 Whiting Dr., Yankton. The sessions will start at 10 a.m. If you are interested in attending please pre-register by calling the Yankton County Extension Office at 605-665-3387 or at the Clay County Extension Office at 605-677-7111.
Topics to be covered at the training session will be: Legal requirements for the application of mosquito control products, mosquito control basics, South Dakota issues with West Nile Virus, mosquito biology control strategies, setting up a mosquito control program and West Nile Virus � a national perspective.
Horse owners should keep in mind that a vaccine for horses has been found in experiments to prevent some 94 percent or more of West Nile Virus cases, according to SDSU Extension veterinarian Bill Epperson. Horse owners should consult with their veterinarian to determine what program and management options best suit their needs.
Mike Catangui, SDSU Extension entomologist, said, "The encephalitis mosquito actually winters in South Dakota as an adult. As soon as the temperature exceeds 40 degrees, they begin to be active, so we could be dealing with mosquitoes quite soon."
The Extension office does have several bulletins available for the public if interested.
Extension Extra 11009 � What You Need to Know Before Vaccinating Your Horses for West Nile Virus
Extension Extra 14073 � Just for Kids � West Nile Virus
Extension Extra 8146 � DEET as a Mosquito Repellent: What You Need to Know
If you have any questions or would like a copy of the mentioned Extension Extras please stop by or contact us at 677-7111.