June 23, 2010

Mosquito season has begun

By Tina Foreman
Farmer Staff Writer

Is it ever going to warm up? That’s been a common question around McKenzie County this spring, and now that the days have begun to get warmer, the new question is, where did all of these mosquitoes come from?
Even before mosquitoes began their attack on Watford City, city workers had begun their attack on the pesky bugs.
“We started mosquito surveillance in April,” says Lowell Cutshaw, Watford City city engineer/administrator. “We started dipping for larvae and applying larvicide weekly to area waters.”
According to Cutshaw, very few larvae have been found in areas of standing water because of the larvicide applications.
Because the city doesn’t have the equipment or means to test larvae or adult mosquitoes, Cutshaw has no way of knowing how big the mosquito population in town is, other than stepping outside and seeing how many attack.
“We have two traps that we check and record daily,” says Cutshaw. “Aside from that we do lots of checking for larvae in lots of areas and treat standing water with larvicide. If adult mosquitoes are present, we control them with fogging. In addition to fogging, we also use a barrier method for areas that we know are commonly used. For this we spray a barrier directly on a location such as a picnic shelter, outdoor bathrooms, etc. This eliminates the mosquitoes when they come in contact with the spray.”
At this point, aerial spraying is not needed, but Cutshaw plans to use it if necessary later in the mosquito season.
“We try to maintain control of larvae and adult mosquitoes every week,” states Cutshaw. “We are taking every measure that is possible by trying to find all the sources of standing water, plus the many new places that we have encountered with the past precipitation. We are spending a lot more hours in the field looking for water sources that we have never treated before.”
Cutshaw and his employees aren’t alone in their hopes for a mosquito free summer, as residents hope to see few mosquitoes as they enjoy time outdoors.