Twin Falls Pest Abatement District catches blue gill to control mosquitoes

Annual collection then puts the small fish in ponds throughout the county
Published: Jul. 7, 2020 at 5:53 PM MDT
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TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) - The Twin Falls County Pest Abatement District works to protect the community from harmful mosquitoes and black flies and Tuesday, they utilized a simple tool — the blue gill fish.

“For mosquito control, we are collecting as small of fish as we can, from 3 to 8 centimetres,” said Brian Simper, the manager for the Pest Abatement District. “Hopefully we can catch about 1,000 of them and go stock them in ponds, so that’s what our goal is for today, is to go stock ponds with blue gill fish.”

The Pest Abatement District is able to catch the blue gill fish at Dierkes Lake once a year and use them to help control mosquitoes.

“These fish, their goal is to eat mosquitoes, West Nile Virus is what we are trying to prevent, and the mosquito that carries West Nile Virus can sense that the fish are in the water and if they can’t find a suitable breeding habitat then they will put their eggs in there,” Simper said. “If they can sense there is fish in there they will move on to another habitat and sometimes they will die in the process, so it’s a great way to control mosquitoes or repel mosquitoes in a way.”

Normally the public is invited to help catch the blue gill but because of COVID-19 the Pest Abatement District has to do it by themselves.

“It’s a great time to get the kids out here in the public, let them do hands on biology, let them be a part of the process,” Simper said. “They learn so much and it’s a great experience for them.”

On property, people are asked to empty standing water and wear long pants and shirts after dusk to protect themselves from mosquitoes.

“If you don’t have access to blue gill, you can go to the pet store and get a goldfish and put it in your stock tanks, that always works really well,” Simper said.

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