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Fight The Bite Colorado

"Fight The Bite Colorado"
West Nile Information

Saturday, May 20th - Prepare for West Nile Virus Season...

Think it’s too early to prepare for preventing potentially dangerous mosquito bites?  According to officials at Larimer County Department of Health and Environment, the answer is no.

“Local mosquito control field technicians have already seen mosquito larvae in Loveland-Fort Collins-area water,” said Mike Doyle, West Nile Virus Health Educator for the department.  “With the hot weather predicted for the next week, any areas not being treated could produce biting mosquitoes any day now.”

Of most concern are the Culex larvae. As adult mosquitoes, the Culex are the main transmitters of West Nile Virus. 

“Some Culex adults usually make it through the winter carrying the virus, which means a few are circulating – and biting,” Doyle warned.  “This is a perfect time for Larimer County residents to begin taking steps to minimize their contact with mosquitoes, now, and more importantly, later in the summer. 

As part of routine spring yard cleanup, homeowners should clean gutters, repair screens, clean ornamental ponds and other irrigation systems. Since gardening season is well underway, Doyle suggests planning your landscape to include low-water-use lawns and gardens. He also suggests that homeowner associations take a good look at their open spaces and drainage ditches to assess how welcoming their shared landscape is to mosquitoes. 

By taking some simple preventive steps now and continuing them throughout the summer, you can dramatically reduce your exposure to mosquitoes and help keep you and your family free of West Nile infection.  The Larimer County Department of Health and Environment recommends the following to help you and your family “fight the bite.”

  • Wear an insect repellent containing DEET, following instructions carefully, whenever you are outside, in the backwoods or the backyard.  Be sure to apply repellent on children and elderly, following instructions on the label or container.
  • Drain standing water around the house at least weekly. Change birdbath water weekly. Receptacles such as buckets, clogged rain gutters and rain barrels are very attractive spots for a mosquito to lay its eggs.
  • Stay clear of places where mosquitoes are known to gather, (long grasses, wetlands, shrubs and grassy shores), especially at dusk when they are most active.
  • Repair all house screens and screen doors now.  A blood-seeking mosquito needs only a fraction of an inch gap to enter your home. 
  • Trim your bushes up to approximately 2 feet from the ground so you can “see the knees of the trees.” This allows air flow and reduces dampness, thus making your bushes a poor hiding place for mosquitoes.
  • Plant low-water-use lawns and gardens now while mosquito populations are low.
  • Water your lawn fewer times per week so the roots stay moist but the grass blades are dry.
  • In your garden, use drip or soaker hoses instead of overhead sprinkling.

In 2003, over 500 lab-confirmed cases were reported in Larimer County, although it’s likely that more than three times that number became ill, and far more were bitten and infected but didn’t become sick.   Nine patients died from the virus.  Some continue to live with long-term and disabling effects.  Though the chances of becoming seriously ill from the virus are relatively low, the infection can cause severe illness and even death. 

Symptoms of West Nile fever can include malaise, headache, muscle aches, fever, weakness/fatigue, and rash illness. More serious symptoms of neurological complications may include paralysis, mental disorientation, and stiff neck with severe headache. People aged 50 and over tend to experience the most serious effects.

Though the summers of 2004 and 2005 were mild West Nile Virus seasons, Doyle is quick to point out that this is not a predictor for yet another mild season. 

“We really can’t predict how serious of a season we will have,” he said.  “So much is dependent on temperatures, the amount of irrigation water from the winter snow pack, and rainfall. Mosquito populations change from week to week so we can only predict West Nile risk a few weeks ahead, at best.  We also can’t predict how much virus may be present to infect mosquitoes each year.   The measure of severity will unfold as the summer unfolds.”

It’s important to remember that, though we’ve had two mild seasons as the virus spread westward, it is still present in Larimer County. 

“That’s something we know for sure,” Doyle said.  “West Nile Virus isn’t going away any time soon.”

For more information on West Nile Virus, go to:

For information on low-water-use landscaping, call Larimer County Extension at 498-6000 and ask to speak to a Master Gardener.  Master Gardeners are available to answer gardening questions Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9am- 1pm. or call the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment at: 970-498-6792. 

Mosquitoes carry West NileVirus after biting and obtaining a blood meal from infected birds.  A dead bird in your yard might indicate the presence of West NileVirus among the birds in your neighborhood.  If you find one or more dead birds, call the Colorado HelpLine at 1-877-462-2911 to report it.  Do not call Larimer County Department of Health and Environment to report dead birds since the state is collecting all information this year.   Be sure to use gloves or a plastic bag to pick up a dead bird. 

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Flatiron Reservoir Area Map

Flatiron Lake Area

Friday, May 19th - Fisherman Missing At Flatiron Reservoir...

Larimer County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Services and Larimer County Search and Rescue responded to the area of Flatiron Reservoir on County Road 18E North of Carter Lake in Larimer County on a report of a missing fisherman.

Larimer County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Services was notified at 7:00 A.M. of a missing fisherman.  Friends of the missing man advised that they last saw him at 3:00 A.M. Friday morning.  His fishing equipment was found on the bank of the reservoir.

An initial search of the area around the lake was done, however no tracks were found. The Larimer County Dive Rescue Team was called and is now in the process of doing a sweep pattern of the lake from the last seen point.  Larimer County Parks is also assisting with their sonar equipment.

Rescue efforts will continue until dark and will resume Saturday morning.

The missing man is a 29-year old from Nebraska. However his name is not being released at this time pending notification of next of kin.

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Annual Road Clean-Up This Saturday

Annual Road Clean-Up Saturday

Tuesday, May 16th - Annual Road Clean-Up This Saturday..

The annual road clean-up for Cedar Park and Cedar Springs, including access road FDR 128, is scheduled for Saturday, May 20th at 9:00am.

Road maintenance workers and volunteers will be picking up trash and other debris along the access road and other area roadways. 

Residents are advised to use caution and be courteous to our community workers. Please drive slowly, particularly on the access road, and be prepared to stop for workers and/or vehicles in the roadways.

For more information, or to volunteer your help, please contact Karen Debenham at 593-1091 or email,

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Mountain Bluebells

Rocky Mountain Bluebells

Sunday, May 14th - Photo Of The Week..

Recent showers and warm weather have led to the blooming of many local wildflowers like the Rocky Mountain Bluebells featured in this week's photo of the week.

Rocky Mountain Bluebells (Mertensia humilis Rydb.) are common throughout our area and a favorite of many area residents and visitors. Bluebells begin blooming in mid to late Spring and continue flowering until early Fall.

Bluebells are recognized by the delicate lavender-blue colored bells hanging from the terminal end of a 6" - 18' stem with lance-like leaves. Bluebells like stream banks, wet meadows, damp thickets, wet cliffs and foothills to subalpine zone, where another species of bluebell, Alpine Bluebells, begin to appear.

The flowers of Mountain Bluebells are edible raw. The leaves are edible raw or cooked. However, the leaves are rather hairy and are not so nice when eaten raw.

The plant is galactogogue, and a tea of the plant was used by the Cheyenne Indians to increase the milk flow of nursing mothers. They also made a tea of the powdered root and used it to relieve the itching caused by smallpox and measles.

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