In the City of Great Bend’s ongoing war with mosquitoes, it could appear the mosquitoes are winning. But, the battle is soon to resume.
The Public Works Department will again be fogging for mosquitoes Thursday night. The fogging will start at 8 p.m. until midnight, weather permitting. The fogging will continue on Thursday nights for at least the next couple of weeks.
But, “it’s a little more complicated than ‘yes we’re going to spray or no we are not going to spray,’” said City Administrator Kendal Francis told the City Council Monday night. He has fielded questions about why the city has stopped.
“We’ve sprayed for five weeks now and we did stop for a week,” he said. This wasn’t just a local decision.
“We are under state regulations as to how much we can spray,” Francis said. The Kansas Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency limit the maximum amount of insecticide that can be applied in a year.
Still, he had visited with Public Works Monday, and the department indicated it was going to resume spraying again this week.
However, there is another caveat to fogging for the pesky insects. That is the heat.
As the temperatures get really hot, in the 100-degree range, the mosquito eggs go dormant.
“We are targeting the mosquitoes in the pupa to adult stages of their life cycles,” Francis said. The chemical is ineffective against the eggs which are inactive when its hot, so they have to wait until they hatch.
Francis said he has also been asked about the city’s mosquito fogging rig and if it was working. Residents were concerned since they hadn’t smelled what they were used to smelling.
But, “we changed chemicals so you don’t have that same odor you had before,” Francis said. This change helps prevent the mosquitoes from becoming immune to the insecticide.
However, the fight must also be waged by the residents themselves, Councilwoman Jolene Biggs said. “One of the biggest things is that people themselves need to be dumping water out.”
Stagnant water is a ripe mosquito breeding ground, and just a bottle cap can hold 100 of eggs, she said.
If anyone has questions about mosquito fogging, they can call Public Works at 620-793-4150.
Tips for combating mosquitoes from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment:
• Empty standing water from tarps, old tires, buckets, and other places where rainwater collects.
• Refresh water for bird baths, pet bowls, and wading pools at least every three days.
• Use larvicide in areas where water cannot be removed.
• Larval source reduction is the single most effective means of vector control.
• Larvicides target larvae in the breeding habitat before they mature into adult mosquitoes and should be the first line of defense when controlling floodwater mosquitoes.
• Larvicides can be purchased at home improvement, farm supply stores, or through pesticide distributors. Look for products containing Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis (BTI) as this bacterium has no toxicity to people or animals and is approved for use for pest control in organic farming operations.
• Adulticide should be used when deemed necessary, according to data gathered in surveillance activities or in response to public health needs.
• When adult mosquito populations become too large to be managed by larvicide, adulticide spraying may be considered.