Did you know that certain bird species can help track the spread of West Nile Virus? According to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), examining dead birds helps officials identify West Nile virus hot spots so they can take measures to protect the health of residents.
Why do the dead birds matter? Birds can carry West Nile Virus in their blood. When they die, mosquitos feed on these birds and become infected. After one to two weeks, infected mosquitos can spread the virus to humans and other animals.
How Can You Help?
If you find a dead blue jay, house finch, or house sparrow that doesn’t look injured or decayed, you can submit it for lab testing at your local DHEC office between mid-March and the end of November. You can also submit dead cows, though that would require more significant effort.
Blue jays, house finches, and house sparrows are good specimens for testing as they are more susceptible to West Nile Virus than other bird species. You can also submit other bird species, but the DHEC will only test them on a case-by-case basis.
How to Safely Collect & Submit a Dead Bird
- Wear gloves or cover your hands with a doubled-up plastic bag when handling the dead bird.
- Place the bird in a bag and keep it in a cool spot until it can be put on ice.
- Deliver the bird within 36 hours to DHEC. If this is not possible, place the bagged bird on ice in a cooler, making sure no water leaks into the bag. Never place the bagged bird in a refrigerator or freezer that stores food.
- Print and fill out the Dead Bird Submission and Reporting Sheet for West Nile Virus. Bring the form and the dead bird to the nearest DHEC office.
Reduce the Risk of West Nile Virus in Your Yard
The best way to reduce the risk of West Nile Virus on your property is to eliminate the source: the mosquitos themselves. Mosquito Squad of Greenville specializes in mosquito control. We eliminate up to 90% of mosquitos on contact using our proprietary Barrier Protection Treatment. Our time-released formula adheres to vegetation and continues working for three weeks. If you’re looking for mosquito control in Greenville, call the Squad today – (864) 362-2013.