Bug off: Moffat County officials preparing for more mosquito control measures
With so much standing water in the Yampa Valley, officials may need to spend more tax dollars controlling the mosquito population and the diseases they carry.
Jesse Schroeder, Moffat County’s weed and pest control manager, said a mosquito caught near the South Beach Boat Ramp about five miles south of Craig tested positive for the virus in late June.
“There are some positive mosquitos in the area,” Schroeder said.
Early this month, the city of Craig worked with county officials and contracted with Mountain Air Spray in Craig to spray much of the city to control the tiny bloodsuckers.
Schroeder announced Monday that Moffat County would be doing its annual spraying of the Maybell area beginning Friday, July 12 and possibly into Monday, July 15.
But, Moffat County commissioners have given Schroeder the green light to do more spraying beyond the normal regiment.
“We authorized him to do more spraying because it’s become a safety issue, a health and safety issue,” Commissioner Don Cook said Tuesday.
Cook added additional spraying will likely be needed, and he looks forward to working with the city of Craig on how to best cover areas where residents live and work.
“I think they’re going to do that and I think we are too,” Cook said of the city’s plans to spray again.
An email from Kari Ladrow, public health director for both Moffat and Routt counties, said there have been no human cases of West Nile Virus this year in the region, though last year there were multiple instances throughout the state.
“According to the CDC, as of June 11, there have not been any confirmed or probable cases of West Nile Virus Disease in humans in Colorado this year,” Ladrow said. “In 2018, there were a total of 96 of neuro and non-neuro invasive West Nile Virus disease cases in humans in the state of Colorado which sadly resulted in three deaths.”
According to the CDC’s website, no cases of serious mosquito-borne illnesses have been reported in Colorado as of July 9.
Craig Parks and Recreation Director Dave Pike said his office has only budgeted for one spray regiment this year at a cost of about $7,000 per aerial spray. But if Schroeder says more is needed, Pike said the city will act to secure more resources.
“I didn’t budget for two sprays this year, but it’s something we’ll certainly take into consideration if or when the experts at the county tell us we should,” Pike said.
Schroeder said he’s waiting and watching the mosquito population closely, but he doesn’t yet know for sure how much extra will be needed.
“We’re not sure yet,” Schroeder said of how much in additional resources might be needed. “That extra money is in case we get more positive tests or the ground crews get behind.”
Adam Tucker, one of the pilots whose frequent flybys in his 50-foot Thrush S2RT airplane are the bane of parasitic bugs across Moffat County, said he hopes to have the Maybell area sprayed by this Friday, but he will work up until Monday, July 15 if the weather doesn’t cooperate.
“Its weather-dependent,” Tucker said. “I just ask for a few days to make sure the weather’s clear.”
Tucker said residents of Maybell are no strangers to their annual mosquito control measures courtesy of Moffat County.
“They’re used to it,” Tucker said. “We’ve been doing it for years and years.”