Fight–the–Bite with Henrico’s Mosquito Division

Did you know that Henrico County has a mosquito division as part of its Department of Public Works? That’s right, as part of the more extensive Environmental Services Division, the mosquito division uses an integrated management approach to help employees and residents combat mosquito-related issues. This time of year, our staff is gearing up to begin the mosquito season, which starts in April and lasts through the end of October. Our division consists of just three full-time employees and up to 10 seasonal and intern staff working diligently to protect public health and reduce human discomfort. Our division monitors 100 surveillance locations each season, treats up to 600 sites monthly, and participates in as many public outreach and education opportunities as time allows.

The mosquito division uses data collected from our surveillance, inspections, and treatments to keep track of mosquito species that frequent here. Henrico County has seen up to 36 unique species of mosquitoes over the years, but only about 12-15 species are considered a significant nuisance to our residents. We also test the species collected for the presence of West Nile virus (WNv). West Nile virus is the leading cause of mosquito-borne disease in the United States and is reoccurring in local mosquito populations each season. While not a reason to panic, it is essential for Henrico employees and residents to take the appropriate steps to protect themselves when spending time outside. Wearing light-colored, long pants and sleeves in combination with applying an EPA-certified repellant is one of the best ways to protect yourself from mosquito bites and disease.

So, how does the Mosquito Division protect you and your family? One of the ways is that we offer FREE mosquito inspections for all Henrico County residents. Inspections include an individual assessment where our staff visits the homeowner, inspects their property, and provides them with a consultation. With each consultation, the resident is provided with a written copy of the inspection results and is taught what they can do to reduce mosquito habitats in their yard. They are also taught how to combat future populations from moving back in. Any Henrico County employee who lives within Henrico County is eligible for this free service! This service is not exclusive to private residences. We are also available to inspect county buildings and job sites where you may be experiencing a mosquito problem.

Additionally, Henrico’s mosquito division inspects and treats standing water at over 600 county property and right-of-way areas (i.e., ditches) every 2-3 weeks. These treatments are completed using an environmentally friendly larvicide called Bacillus thuringiensis subspecies israelensis, better known as BTi. When applied in accordance with the label directions, BTi is safe for people, pets, and plants. It is “target specific,” which simply means it is only toxic to mosquitoes, black flies, and fungus gnats, all in their larval forms. This also means it is only effective when applied to those standing water areas where mosquitoes grow and develop. Because the Henrico County mosquito division relies heavily on larval and environmentally safe treatments, we do NOT do any ultra-low volume adulticide spraying and/or fogging. 

Each year, our calls, complaints, and inspections are dominated by the Asian Tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus). The Asian Tiger mosquito is a tiny black mosquito with striped legs and a distinct white ‘racing stripe’ down its back (thorax). This mosquito is known for its aggressive biting behaviors and its ability to seek out a host any time of the day. This species is hard to manage because it only lays eggs in man-made containers, typically things left out and lying in the yard (flowerpots, corrugated pipes, trash, empty bins, tarps, etc.). Since they only need 1/10th of an inch of water (Think plastic water bottle cap!), many ‘hidden’ places can be easily missed even in the cleanest yards.

With all this said, we cannot effectively combat Henrico’s mosquito populations without the help of our fellow colleagues and residents. We want to encourage all our neighbors to Fight-the-Bite with us. Fight-the-Bite means picking one day a week, preferably the same day each week to make it a habit, walking your property or job site, and finding all the items holding water. DUMP IT! Don’t forget the very, very small hidden places like flowerpot trays, plastic trash, and those cracks and crevices in children’s toys! DUMPING IT discourages egg-laying and eliminates habitats quicker than treatments.

In addition to helping residents physically combat mosquitoes, we encourage our colleagues and neighbors to spread the word! We are happy to help here, too! The mosquito division is available to give community presentations and education sessions or provide informational flyers and pamphlets to any club, organization, group, or school within Henrico. The more neighbors we can get to join our mission, the more comfortable an outdoor experience for all of us.

For more information about group presentations or to request a mosquito inspection, email us at [email protected]!

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2024 National Crime Victims’ Rights Week

The Henrico Victim Witness Assistance Program with the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office is raising awareness on National Crimes Victims’ Rights Week from April 21-27, 2024. The purpose is to celebrate the accomplishments of the victims’ rights movement and reflect on how far we have come in achieving justice for victims of all types of crime.

The “Crime Victim and Witness Rights Act” (Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights) was made law by the Virginia General Assembly in 1995. The purpose of this law is to ensure that victims and witnesses of crime:

  • Are treated with dignity, respect, and sensitivity and that their privacy is
    protected where the law allows.
  • Have an opportunity to be heard at critical stages of the criminal justice process.
  • Have an opportunity to make the courts aware of the full impact of the crime.

How would YOU Help?

It is important that the entire community be informed on these rights in case they come across a coworker, family member, friend or find themselves dealing with victimization. Sometimes victims feel better after discussing their concerns and emotions with someone they trust; however, it is important to know that our program is designed to assist victims and witnesses with the complexities of the criminal justice system.

Our program may also be able to connect victims to other community programs that specialize in counseling, financial compensation or other resources that may be helpful.

Henrico County Victim/Witness Assistance Program – 804 501-1680

Henrico County Commonwealth Attorney’s Office – 804 501-4218

Henrico County Police Non-Emergency – 804 501-5000

In addition, join us in solidarity for National Crimes Victims’ Rights Week with the ColorMe Awareness Campaign. This campaign focuses on bringing awareness and support to victims of specific crimes. Each day of the week has an assigned color and crime, and we ask that you wear the respective color of the day. This is a great way for your department to support the cause and recognize that victims’ rights are important. We appreciate your support, & you may submit photos of your team wearing the color of support throughout the week at [email protected]
We will post them on our Henrico Victim/Witness Facebook page!

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A Look Back at Student Government Day

This year 100 high school students had the opportunity to see first-hand what we do here at the County. As part of the 65th Student Government Day, students from ten area high schools and the Academy at Virginia Randolph worked alongside county officials, took tours, and participated in a mock Board of Supervisors and saw how their local government and public school system serve the community.

Student Government Day would not be such a success without the participation of so many departments and employees! Here is what they had to say about it:

“Observing students arrive on Student Government Day, fully engaged in their roles and responsibilities, is such a joy to watch! Each year, this day serves to provide our Henrico County students with a glimpse into their potential futures, guiding them toward diverse paths that also allow active participation in shaping their own community. Students also can create meaningful connections and weigh in by voicing their opinions. This allows us as Henrico County employees to listen attentively and anticipate the needs, concerns, and priorities valued by the next generation who will soon be joining us in the workplace.” -Kendall Johnson, Department of Human Resources

“Planning Department staff Todd Rigler and Rosemary Deemer were paired with Jonathan Logan, a senior from Hermitage High School who is also enrolled at the ACE Center at Highland Springs High School. The department is currently in the process of updating the county’s long-range comprehensive (land use) plan and has been looking for ways to increase awareness about our efforts. Because of his interest in technology, we asked that he create a way to engage students so we could obtain more input on our project. Using Google Forms, he created a survey that was provided to two senior level government classes. The students were asked to review a summary of the county and share their thoughts on how and where the county should grow in the future. Thanks to Jonathan efforts, Planning heard from approximately 30 students who otherwise may not have known about or participated in our process.” -Joe Emerson, Planning Department

“My student was the most self-directed student I have met.  Jordan was already planning her service in the US Marine Corps, using her service to get her college education and ultimately to become a lawyer.  It was a pleasure to meet such a highly motivated young lady.” -Steve Yob, Deputy County Manager for Community Operations

“I had the honor of participating in Student Government Day a few weeks ago. The students were very informative and very polite. I walked them around Finance, and they did tours of Finance offices including Revenue, Real Estate and Risk Management. The students asked questions and the feedback was that they really enjoyed it. 2 of the students also participated in the mock Board Meeting which included a topic on raises for bus drivers.  In attendance was the County Manager and other board officials. The students really enjoyed the mock Board meeting. I truly enjoyed being a part of the student government day and look forward to working with the future students on Student Government Day.” -Brian Hicks, Department of Finance

“This was a great opportunity to spend the day discussing Henrico County and the structure of the Fire Department with our developing leaders.  The students were able to network and leave with several connections that they reach out to as they move towards their future careers.” -Jason Wood, Division of Fire

“The Department of Emergency Communications enjoyed, and appreciated, having the opportunity to interact with future leaders of Henrico County. We were able to show the behind-the-scenes activities it requires to run a 24/7 911 agency that processes over 500,000 calls per year. In addition, we were able to leverage the thoughts and ideas of our local students regarding communication methods and styles and dovetail that information into our communication strategy.” -Kevin Pond, Department of Emergency Communications

“Student Government Day provides a window into the future of our community.  The students who took the time to engage each brought a unique perspective on what a better future looks like for Henrico County.  For many this was their first visit to Henrico County’s offices and our hope is that students will continue to engage as citizens, employees, or partners to shape the future of their community.” -Matt Chafin, Department of Finance

“I’ve been involved with Student Government Day for many years in one way or another, but this was by far the most time I’ve spent with a participant. I was in frequent contact with our student, Anooshka Pendyal, in the weeks leading up to Student Government Day. Anooshka, who is a senior at Deep Run High School, was awesome to work with! For her project, she chose to address voter registration and eligibility with a slideshow and two short videos. She had great ideas and was engaged from the start. We bounced ideas back and forth, and she periodically updated me on her progress. Her presentation came together very well and got a good response at the mock board session. She was also enthusiastic about everything that unexpectedly came her way during the day. In keeping with the flexibility that we need to have in Public Relations, she embraced the idea of recording a PSA about the reflective WOAH! vests, as well as recording a Henrico Happenings podcast about her experience. Since she plans to major in AI/Data Science in college and wants to work on ethical uses of artificial intelligence, she asked me to put her in touch with Information Technology Director Travis Sparrow so she can get involved in Henrico County’s AI usage committee. Travis’s response was very enthusiastic, so I think we’ll be hearing more from Anooshka in the future!” -Ryan Eubanks, Public Relations


Henrico County Student Government Day 2024 Video:

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Henrico County Volunteer Program

In 1984, Henrico County created the Volunteer Services Program. A coordinator was assigned to establish guidelines for effectively using volunteers in county government departments. A department coordinator, or primary volunteer supervisor, was also identified in most departments. At the program’s start, about 500 volunteers worked in as few as ten departments in the county. Since then, the opportunities available to volunteers and the services provided by non-paid staff members have grown significantly.

The term “volunteer” has taken on many meanings. Specifically, to Henrico County, a volunteer is a person who has chosen to give their time and talent to a worthwhile group or cause without concern for monetary profit. The county has come to rely more and more upon volunteers to: 

  • Enrich and extend the programs now being offered through various county agencies
  • Gain skills and practical experience through personal development 
  • Perform and support direct services that impact the community by encouraging civic engagement 
  • Afford residents and employees an opportunity to affect the environment in which they live, work, and play

Community support and interest are essential in providing quality services for County residents. Volunteers’ contributions, dedication, and commitment are vital to the county’s growth. Each opportunity is different and contributes an essential part to the organization.  

In the last few years, the county has expanded volunteer programs to serve volunteer opportunities with county employees, residents, and students. The county aims to provide a practical and rewarding experience to engage with public service and community organizations.  

The Volunteer Program has been a vital resource to the county’s community and workforce for forty years. Throughout the past few years, Henrico volunteers have contributed hundreds and thousands of hours of volunteer work in several ways. 

  • 2018, 1,232 volunteers contributed 147,530 hours
  • 2019, 960 volunteers contributed 146,263 hours
  • 2020, 806 volunteers contributed 90,289 hours
  • 2021-2022, no data due to COVID-19
  • 2023, almost 618 volunteers per month contributed 104,928 hours

Henrico honors its volunteers for their commitment to serve, and we encourage all agencies to take time to recognize their volunteers and all the work they do throughout the year. Every year, a national organization shines a light on the individuals inspired to serve and lend their time, talent, and voice to make a difference in our community during National Volunteer Week (NVW). NVW was established in 1974 to host thousands of volunteer projects and special events scheduled throughout the week to celebrate the power of people who actively support their communities through volunteerism. This year, NVW will be observed April 21-27, and Henrico County will participate by hosting various community service activities from Wednesday, April 24 to Saturday, April 27. From food pantries and clothing closets to beautification projects and community partner events for kids, there will be something for everyone. Stay connected with General Notice messages to sign up for all the activities.

The Board of Supervisors will also proclaim that week as Volunteer Week for Henrico County at its April 9 meeting. 

Thank you again for your support of the Volunteer Program. We look forward to continuing the rich tradition of volunteerism here in Henrico County! 

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