Moffat County to spray for mosquitoes
June 24, 2010
At a glance
• Moffat County Pest Management spraying mosquitoes in Craig, Maybell and recreational areas of the county Saturday through Wednesday.
• Spraying will kill adult mosquitoes only.
• Larvae control measures ongoing in the county.
• County can control 95 to 98 percent of adult mosquitoes through larvae control.
• Officials recommend residents limit water build up in swimming pools, lawns, tires and other areas of residences to curb mosquito and larvae growth.
As the weather warms and the evenings get longer, so begins mosquito season in Moffat County.
Gary Brannan, Moffat County Pest Management Department manager, said the county started implementing mosquito larvae control in late April but that the increasing number of adult mosquitoes in the county is prompting his department to launch aerial spraying.
Brannan said Craig, Maybell and the recreational areas of the county will be sprayed Saturday through Wednesday.
Brannan said he was not sure which days the county would be treating specific areas, as weather and wind factors affect spraying.
An increasing number of adult mosquitoes in the county are a result of river flooding, Brannan said.
"We had almost perfect control of them up until the time the river flooded," he said. "Then, there was so much larvae out there that we couldn't treat because of the depth and the movement of the water."
Traps placed throughout the county have been collecting adult mosquitoes through the past few weeks but have recently peaked.
Traps currently are collecting about 3,000 mosquitoes per trap per night in untreated areas of the county.
Brannan said spraying adult mosquitoes must be perfectly timed.
"If we do an aerial treatment and kill all the adults, but if we don't have control of the larvae in the water, within four days we will be right back where we were," he said.
Brannan and his staff had to wait until river water levels receded to reach areas where the larvae live.
Once the spraying kills the living adults, Brannan hopes his department can maintain low levels of mosquitoes throughout summer by treating the water where the larvae live.
Brannan said the department can maintain about 95 to 98 percent control of adult mosquitoes through larvae control.
The county budgeted $59,953 for mosquito supplies and $23,000 for aerial spraying, Moffat County Budget Analyst Tinneal Gerber said.
Brannan's staff is also on the lookout for Culex mosquitoes, which can carry the West Nile Virus, but none have been found, so far.
If Culex mosquitoes were found in the area, county officials would have sprayed sooner, Brannan said.
As of now, mosquitoes in Moffat County do not represent a health threat, Brannan said.
"Right now they are more of an annoyance than a health hazard," he said.
The county usually conducts one or two aerial sprays per year, he said.
Brannan said his department might spray again if they started catching significant numbers in traps, or if any Culex mosquitoes are found.
The pest management department also conducts regular spraying, called fogging, in recreational areas of the county in the morning and evening hours when mosquitoes are most active.
Fogging is "ultra-low volume" spraying to kill adult mosquitoes.
"The smaller the droplets, the more exposure you are going to have because they actually have to come in contact with it," he said.
County and city officials also monitor and keep record of resident complaints about mosquitoes.
Brannan said there are several things residents can to do help curb the number of mosquitoes in the county and city.
He recommends not letting water build up in swimming pools, lawns or other areas of residences.
Unused tires are also an area of concern for county officials as they can accumulate water and their dark color helps maintain a warmer water temperature, which facilitates mosquito larvae growth.