As far as City of Powell Sanitation/Public Health Superintendent Allen Griffin is concerned, “the only good mosquito is a dead mosquito.” Not only are the whining, biting insects a …
As far as City of Powell Sanitation/Public Health Superintendent Allen Griffin is concerned, “the only good mosquito is a dead mosquito.” Not only are the whining, biting insects a nuisance, they can spread serious diseases.
That’s why the city is restarting its annual efforts to suppress the local skeeter population. In the coming weeks, personnel will deploy pesticides in the city’s storm drains to kill mosquito larvae before they hatch. And as the adult population swells later in the summer, the city will spray an airborne pesticide to kill the bugs.
Foggings are triggered when more bugs start showing up in the city’s mosquito traps and as citizen complaints rise. The so-called “adulticide” makes a difference, Griffin said: Following a spraying, the number of mosquitoes found in a given trap will generally drop from 10 or 20 to one or two.
Last year, a truck traveled the city’s streets and sprayed Clarke’s BioMist 3+15 on five different nights; past years have ranged between four and eight deployments, Griffin said.
It’s been years since the city was hit particularly hard by mosquitoes, but Griffin isn’t about to take credit.
“You can think that … ‘It was a wet year, it’s going to be bad’ or ‘There was a dry year, it’s going to be bad,’ and you can’t judge it,” he said. “There’s no way to know.”
What is known is water’s critical role in the insects’ reproductive cycle.
Culex and other vector mosquitoes — the ones that carry diseases like West Nile virus — lay rafts of up to 200 eggs in slow-moving or stagnant water, Griffin said. “That can be as simple as a backyard toy that just always has water in it.”
You can help keep populations down by draining standing water, he noted.
Nuisance mosquitoes are a bit different. They lay their eggs one at a time on damp soil, Griffin said, and the eggs hatch once they’re flooded with water.
Under the right circumstances, it doesn’t take many mosquitoes to raise thousands of young.
To prevent the city’s storm drains and sewer lagoons from becoming prime breeding ground, workers start using the larvicide Altosid in early or mid June, once water samples show the presence of larva.
The City of Powell is again receiving financial assistance from the Wyoming Department of Agriculture, with the state providing an $8,100 grant this year. Most of that money will go toward the pesticides, while the rest will go toward other supplies and education. The educational efforts can include public safety messages — such as reminders to clean up standing water and to avoid dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active.
The Wyoming Department of Health also advises wearing shoes, socks, long pants and long-sleeved shirts and using an insect repellent that contains DEET.
“These recommendations are familiar but remain important to help prevent mosquito bites,” Department of Health Epidemiologist Courtney Tillman said last month, noting that mosquitoes and ticks severely sicken a small number of Wyomingites each year.
For more information about the city’s mosquito-control program, call the Sanitation Department at 307-754-6941. If you do not want your property to be sprayed with BioMist, contact City Hall at 307-754-5106.