Officials are trying to squash the spread of the West Nile virus in the Lehigh Valley.
The Lehigh County West Nile Program will spray for mosquitoes Tuesday night in parts of Allentown and Bethlehem.
The operation area includes the Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and Sumner Avenue corridors.
The spray isn't dangerous to plants, animals or humans, but officials said it effectively controls mosquito populations.
Officials said residents can take a number of precautionary measures to help eliminate mosquito-breeding areas, including:
• Dispose of cans, buckets, plastic containers, ceramic pots or similar containers that hold water.
• Properly dispose of discarded tires that can collect water. Stagnant water is where most mosquitoes breed.
• Drill holes in the bottom of outdoor recycling containers.
• Have clogged roof gutters cleaned every year, the leaves from surrounding trees have a tendency to plug drains.
• Turn over plastic wading pools when not in use.
• Turn over wheelbarrows and don’t let water stagnate in birdbaths.
• Aerate ornamental pools or stock them with fish.
• Clean and chlorinate swimming pools not in use and remove any water that may collect on pool covers.
These simple precautions can also help prevent mosquito bites:
• Make sure screens fit tightly over doors and windows to keep mosquitoes out of homes.
• Consider wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants and socks when outdoors, particularly when mosquitoes are most active at dawn and dusk, or in areas known for having large numbers of mosquitoes.
• When possible, reduce outdoor exposure at dawn and dusk during peak mosquito periods, usually April through October.
• Use insect repellents according to the manufacturer’s instructions. An effective repellent will contain DEET, picardin or lemon eucalyptus oil. Consult with a pediatrician or family physician for questions about the use of repellent on children, as repellent is not recommended for children under the age of two months.
For more information about West Nile virus and the state’s surveillance and control program, visit www.westnile.state.pa.us.
Weather conditions and other unexpected events could delay or cancel this spray operation. The back-up spray date is Wednesday.