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New Insect Pest Detected in Sutter County
September 30, 2013

The Sutter County Agricultural Commissioner has detected a new pest in several Yuba City commercial buildings. The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB), Halyomorpha halys, a species native to Asia was introduced into the eastern United States in the mid-1990s. Within the last 15-years this stink bug has established and spread itself throughout the Mid-Atlantic States and is now found in portions of the Western U.S., including California. An adult is about the size of a dime.

BMSB can be a serious pest in fruit and vegetable crops in its immature and adult life stages. Physical damage includes pitting and scarring, making the fruit unmarketable as a fresh product. Some damage to fruit can even render the crop unusable for processed products. Parasitic wasps have been collected from BMSB’s native habitat, but it may be some time before they are ready to be released and used as a control measure.

In addition to plant damage, BMSB are a nuisance to people. When the weather turns cool, BMSB may seek shelter inside homes and other buildings causing irritation to persons sensitive to insect allergens. They do not bite people or pets, nor do they damage buildings. Management for homeowners is to restrict entry into houses during the winter months.

Ag Commissioner Mark Quisenberry stated that for homeowners and businesses, exclusion is the best defense. Patching small opening in outside walls will prevent the pest from entering indoor habitats. If an infestation is detected, using a professional pest exterminator is the best option. The pesticide vapors from so called bug-bombs do not penetrate the crevices stink bugs occupy and they are highly flammable when used or stored near open flame. As for any pesticide, safety first; always read and follow label directions!

Further information can be found at the Ag Commissioners website.

Holiday Safe Driving Tips
September 27, 2013
October is not only a month for tricks and treats, it is also a time to talk to young drivers about behind-the-wheel safety. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens. Approximately 2,700 teens in the United States aged 16 to 19 were killed and nearly 282,000 were treated and released from emergency departments for injuries sustained in motor-vehicle crashes in 2010. The California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) strongly encourages parents and other trusted adults, in conjunction with their young drivers, to participate in National Teen Driver Safety Week, October 20-26.

Following on the heels of that week is Halloween, the deadliest day of the year for child pedestrians. All drivers, not just teens, are encouraged to remain alert and drive cautiously when driving in areas where children may be present on Halloween. Parents who are taking their kids trick-or-treating this Halloween are highly encouraged to place reflective tape on their children's costumes and bags, talk to their children about walking (not running) on sidewalks whenever possible, and to carry a flashlight to help everyone see and be seen.

To teach teenagers safe driving behaviors, adults are encouraged to spend time driving with their teens and discuss good driving habits during National Teen Driver Safety Week, which provides the perfect opportunity to broach the subject. The following tips can go a long way toward making sure your teen develops and practices safe driving behavior:

  • Use positivity, not scare tactics — Positively engaging your teen is an effective way of bringing their attention to these issues without creating an atmosphere in which they feel attacked. Focusing on the deadly impacts of unsafe driving is a popular approach to reach teens, but a long-term foundation can be created by affirming good driving habits. Instead of telling them what not to do, try focusing on what good driving behavior is—wearing a seatbelt, driving focused and undistracted, and driving alert—both substance-free and well-rested.
  • Use real-world situations to create an environment for teaching and learning — Letting your teen drive more often while you're in the car gives you an opportunity to encourage good driving behaviors, such as adequate speed and following distance, as they are happening. It is also important to set a positive example by wearing a seatbelt at all times, driving at a safe speed and eliminating distractions as you drive, whether or not your teen is in the car with you.
  • Remember, unsafe driving doesn't stop at graduation — A lot of the focus on teen drivers falls on high school-aged teens, but out of sight should not mean out of mind. Teens starting college often experience more freedom, less supervision, and easier access to drugs and alcohol. A strong foundation can go a long way, but it is important to continue to educate young drivers by reminding them of responsible driving practices and ensuring that they understand the responsibility that comes with more freedom.
  • Use resources, including other kids – Encourage your teen to get involved in-school and peer-to-peer programs such as Start Smart, Right Turn, Teen Smart, Every 15 Minutes, Friday Night Live, Sober Graduation, and Teens in the Driver's Seat.
For more information about National Teen Driver Safety Week and other tips on keeping your teen safe behind the wheel, visit the California Office of Traffic Safety at www.ots.ca.gov and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) at www.nhtsa.gov.
Total of Seven Confirmed WNV Cases in Sutter County
September 17, 2013

Prevent Mosquito Bites to Prevent West Nile Virus Infection

Seven persons have now been confirmed with West Nile virus illness in Sutter County, with one with West Nile Fever and six with the more serious neuroinvasive type of West Nile virus (WNV) illness. The persons live all around the county, reflecting the wide-spread distribution of West Nile virus activity found by the Sutter-Yuba Mosquito and Vector Control District during this season.

The Sutter-Yuba Mosquito and Vector Control District (SYMVCD) continues to monitor for West Nile virus activity, but has not detected any positive mosquito samples during the past two weeks. However, new cases of WNV illness may be diagnosed in the next few weeks due to the lag time from time of becoming infected with WNV and the development of illness. Current SYMVCD surveillance and treatment maps are posted online at the SYMVCD website.

The key to prevention of infection in humans with WNV is prevention of mosquito bites. It is very important to be vigilant and to take the simple precautions that reduce the risk of mosquito bites. The 6 “D”s is an easy way to remember how to prevent mosquito bites:

  • D – DEET – use DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR3535. These are the EPA approved mosquito repellents to prevent bites; be sure to follow package instructions for age of person and how to apply
  • D – Dress to cover arms and legs
  • D – Dawn and Dusk – avoid going outdoors at dawn and dusk when the mosquitoes that carry WNV are most active
  • D – Doors and windows – make sure that the screens on your doors and windows are not broken or torn
  • D – Drain all standing water around the outside of your house to reduce numbers of mosquitoes around you – some common places are gutters, jar lids, tires, flower pot trays
  • D – District – let the Mosquito Control District know about any standing water, such as neglected swimming pools.

Most people who become infected with WNV will not develop any symptoms, but approximately one in five people who are infected with WNV will develop symptoms, such as fever, headaches, body aches, joint pain, vomiting, diarrhea or rash. Symptoms typically develop from 3 to 14 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. Less than one percent of infected people will develop a serious neurologic illness such as encephalitis or meningitis (inflammation of the brain and surrounding tissues) and it can be fatal.

The State of California West Nile virus webpage has information about WNV activity around the state by county, how to report dead birds, and how to protect against WNV.

For more information about the work that the Sutter County Mosquito and Vector Control District is doing to reduce numbers of mosquitoes, go to www.sutter-yubamvcd.org.

Victorian Dress Exhibit at Museum
September 09, 2013

The Community Memorial Museum of Sutter County is featuring a new exhibit called Remembrance of Gowns Past to display a portion of the Museum’s collection of Victorian era dresses. The exhibit will open with a reception on Friday evening September 13th from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Accompanying the dresses are photographs of women from the Yuba-Sutter area wearing typical apparel from the second half of the 19th century, with long full skirts and elaborate hats. Admission to the opening event is free. The exhibit will remain through November 16th.

The Community Memorial Museum is located at 1333 Butte House Road in Yuba City. Regular open hours are Wednesday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Saturday from noon to 4:00. Admission is free. For more information, call the Museum at 822-7141.

Join Sutter County Public Health for a Bike Rodeo at the 2013 Live Oak Fall Festival!
September 03, 2013

Children of all ages are invited to attend the Bicycle Rodeo on Saturday, September 21, from 10 am to 1 pm at Memorial Park in Live Oak. Bicycle rodeos provide children an opportunity to learn the rules of the road, have their helmet properly checked and practice riding their bike in a supervised bicycle course. Children are encouraged to bring their bikes to the event, although some bikes will be available for the course. Free bike helmets will be given to all children who need them.

The Health Education staff and Sutter County Sheriff’s Cadets will teach bicycle safety. Healthy refreshments provided by the SNAP-Ed program for children participating in the Bicycle Rodeo.