County Expands Use of Mosquito-Eating Fish - 8 News NOW

County Expands Use of Mosquito-Eating Fish to Stop Virus

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LAS VEGS -- Pesky mosquitoes are more than just an itchy annoyance. They also can carry the deadly West Nile virus.

It has infected six people in Clark County this year and lead to one woman's death.

Now, Clark County is amping up efforts to fight the virus by expanding its use of mosquito-eating fish.

Clark County says this is safest way to combat mosquitoes and the fish are used around the country. The county has been using these fish for more than 30 years with few problems.

These hungry fish can go anywhere, the nastiest of waters, and devour mosquitoes with a potentially deadly bite.

"They are very hearty. They can go in some of the nastiest of water settings and survive and do their job," vector control supervisor Christopher Bramley said.

Clark County has placed the aptly-named mosquitofish all over the Las Vegas valley. They feast on the insect as they hit the surface of the water.

"As they're going about their business, the fish come up and eat them." Bramley said.

Rusty Carlson with the Clark County Water Reclamation District says they have has used mosquitofish since 1969, and they can go anywhere there is water.

"We've had them in horse troughs and swimming pools, ponds in your yard," Carlson said.

The process starts by trapping them at a Clark County plant and scooping them into buckets.

Workers let them grow and develop in barrels. Then, they are deposited into potential mosquito breeding grounds.

Crews released the fish into waters at Desert Rose Golf Course Friday, which is a place prone to flooding and stagnant water.

"As hungry as these fish are, you can see in a matter of minutes they just start eating all of the surface mosquitoes," Bramley said.

While there is no eliminating the pesky insects altogether, county workers insist this is the best and safest way to fight West Nile virus.

When introducing a new species into a habitat, there is always the worry they can take over and push native fish out.

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