by nathan oster
Town officials are planning to switch to an evening spraying schedule on July 6 in their continuing efforts to combat an out-of-control mosquito population.
Administrator Paul Thur said Town Hall has fielded many phone calls from frustrated residents, and Dalen Davis, the town foreman, admits that he can’t remember a year when the mosquitoes have been this bad in town.
“It’s because of all the flooding and rain we’ve had,” said Davis on Tuesday. “I can relate. I can’t be in my yard after 7:30 at night, either.”
The town’s plan to combat the mosquito population has involved a truck with a fogger that runs three days a week — Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays — starting at around 3:30 a.m. and wrapping up by 8 a.m.
The truck does “alleys and avenues” in addition to hitting all the outer areas, including along the dike, out by the cemetery, the sewer lagoon and the ballfields. The chemical that is used targets adult mosquitoes. The town also treats ponds and sewer drains with a different technique that involves the placement of a briquette in the water. The town is only allowed to spray three days a week, Davis said, “unless West Nile Virus is proven. Then we could spray more.”
Davis said the town is using the same chemical combinations it has in the past. What makes the problem worse this year, he said, is all the standing water that can be found in and around the community.
The switch to an evening spraying schedule, which will start at 8:30 p.m. and end around midnight starting on July 6, is expected to produce better results. Davis said the town moved away from evening spraying several years ago because residents complained that the mosquito truck was “ruining their evenings” when it passed through their neighborhoods.
But Davis said evening spraying has proven to be the most effective on mosquitoes.
Davis said that with so much standing water and the high temperatures, conditions aren’t going to get better for residents anytime soon. But he encourages everyone to look for areas of standing water on their properties — whether it’s a pool that hasn’t been dumped in a couple of weeks or an old tire with water in. “Dump it out or get rid of it,” he said. “Anything that holds standing water is a place where mosquitoes will breed.”