April 22, 2009

Battle against mosquitoes already underway

By Tina Foreman
Farmer Staff Writer

After a year of learning, the City of Watford City is ready for this year’s mosquito season. In fact, the fight against mosquitoes is going into its third week in Watford City.
“This year we’re ready for the mosquitoes,” says Lowell Cutshaw, Watford City city administrator/engineer. “We’ve been spraying a bacterial larvicide on standing water for two weeks and we’ll continue with that as long as needed.”
According to Cutshaw, two weeks ago when tests for mosquito larvae began coming back positive they started applying a larvicide to standing water in an effort to keep the eggs from hatching.
“According to all of the information we could find, the best way to combat mosquitoes is before the mosquitoes become adults,” adds Cutshaw. “The best way to prevent adult mosquitoes is to keep the eggs from hatching.”
Mosquitoes require undisturbed water for nesting and breeding, and since McKenzie County has a lot of standing water due to spring melting and flooding, the concern of a summer filled with mosquitoes seems very likely.
“You would think that with all of the standing water we would be heading into a bad mosquito season,” comments Cutshaw. “But, the Vector Control in Williston seems to think that having a lot of water like we do is actually going to help keep the mosquito numbers down.”
Mosquitoes require still, shallow and warm water to hatch, so having larger areas of water or deeper water can be a good thing when it comes to mosquito control.
“If the water has ripples from the wind or is too deep, then it doesn’t make good habitat for mosquitoes,” says Cutshaw. “We are hopeful that the amount of water we have will keep the population down, but either way we are going to keep up with larvicides and be prepared to fog later in the season.”
Williston has resorted to using the Air Force to help combat mosquitoes. After the eggs have hatched they will fly over dropping larvicede to areas around the city that Vector Control can’t get to. Cutshaw is also checking into this method to see if it is something that would be feasible for Watford City.
“I am checking into the Air Force and what they are going to be doing in Williston to see if it is something that may help us,” says Cutshaw. “It seems that they are going to attack the mosquitoes after they have hatched and only one time. If that is the case I think we would be better off continuing on with what we are doing.”
Even though the City is busy fighting mosquitoes, it doesn’t mean that residents should stop doing their part.
“Residents need to keep up with their efforts to remove standing water from their property or they will have a problem as it begins to warm up,” states Cutshaw. “Start by looking around your yard for anything containing water. Anything that can hold water should be cleaned out and refilled daily or weekly depending on size, and if possible, containers should be turned upside down to keep water out.”
Along with removing any standing water, keeping your vegetation under control is another great way to help control adult mosquitoes. This can be accomplished by mowing your lawn regularly and keeping shrubs and bushes trimmed.
Summer is just around the corner and a little spring prevention can go a long way toward a summer free from mosquitoes.