Mosquito Control Safety Update
Many in the community are curious and concerned about the process to control mosquitoes who are likely carrying the West Nile Virus. As the Town begins spraying operations early next week, we have a few tips for residents.
Unfortunately we cannot allow shutoffs of the truck’s equipment during an emergency public health application as the risk of West Nile virus transmission in the Berthoud area is too high and shutting off equipment in and around randomly distributed properties can reduce the efficacy of the application.
Larimer County, the mosquito control contractor and the Town are aware of potential affects of spraying. However, when done property, mosquito control applications of permethrin (the chemical to be applied in Berthoud August 15 and 16) have very little to no affect on other insect populations. In fact there was a great study released from researchers at Louisiana State University this week showing that mosquito pesticides do not cause honey bee mortality (http://www.lsuagcenter.com/profiles/rbogren/articles/page1469716014252). Adult mosquito control applications are done via Ultra Low Volume technology which has been calibrated to utilize very small amounts of chemical and tiny droplet sizes that hang in the air only killing insects that are flying during the time of applications. Insects larger than mosquitoes will not be affected by the amount of chemical we put out. We also apply only after sunset when moths, bees and other pollinating insects have gone back to the hive or are taking harborage in areas that the low volume mist will not reach.
The chemical (permethrin) is regularly applied to fruit and vegetable crops in an agricultural setting and they are considered safe for humans. However, if you are still concerned about your garden, we suggest buying some tarps and covering them during the application. Alternatively, this is a water soluble pesticide so you can turn on your sprinklers and/or wash the vegetables before consuming them.
To help minimize contact with mosquitoes as you enjoy your holiday and summer outdoor activities, the Department of Health and Environment also recommends the following:
- Wear an insect repellent containing DEET, following instructions carefully, whenever you are outside, even when just relaxing in the backyard. Be sure to apply repellent on children and elderly, following instructions on the label or container.
- Avoid outdoor activities at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
- Wear long pants and long sleeves to protect against mosquito bites.
- Empty standing water in bird baths, pools, etc., at least weekly-twice a week when temperatures are over 90 degrees and mosquitoes can grow from eggs to biting adults in only 5 days. Receptacles such as buckets, clogged rain gutters, and barrels are very attractive spots for a mosquito to lay its eggs.
- Stay clear of places where mosquitoes are often found (tall grasses, wetlands, shrubs and grassy shores).
- Repair all house screens and screen doors now. A blood-seeking mosquito needs only a fraction of an inch gap to enter your home.
- Trim your bushes up to approximately 2 feet from the ground so you can "see the knees of the trees." This allows air flow and reduces dampness, thus making your bushes a poor hiding place for mosquitoes.
- Plant low-water-use lawns and gardens now while mosquito populations are low.
- If you find a dead crow, blue jay, magpie, or raven that does not seem to be injured, leave it where it is and call 1-877-462-2911
WNV is a serious, sometimes deadly disease. Spraying mosquitoes who carry the disease is a public health decision that saves people’s lives.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) and researchers from a variety of other organizations have developed the mosquito Vector Index formula and set thresholds for action.
This formula takes into account the number of infected mosquito collected in a region, species diversity, and mosquito abundance data. This formula is widely used by mosquito abatement districts and the CDC recommends that additional mosquito control methods be taken when a Vector Index (VI) of 0.5 is reached. The Town of Berthoud’s WNV Spraying Policy, adopted last year, cites the 0.5 action threshold for adulticide action. This action threshold value is also used by health officials in Chicago, Dallas and many areas in Northern Colorado (including Longmont, Loveland, Johnstown, Windsor).
All of the pesticides used by the Colorado Mosquito Control (CMC) are EPA approved and go through a rigorous review process before they are put on the market. The chemical that will be used for this application is AquaKontrol3030 and the active ingredient in this chemical is permethrin. Read more about this chemical at the National Pesticide Information Center http://npic.orst.edu/factsheets/PermGen.html
In addition to only using EPA approved pesticides, CMC is in communication with The Colorado Department of Agriculture who maintains a registry of Pesticide Sensitive individuals and there no Berthoud residents on it.
Resolution 16-15 Establishing A Policy For Mosquito Spraying plus attachment, Policy Statement and the Communication Plan, outline's the town's policy on mosquito spraying.
Click for West Nile virus and mosquito spraying Frequently Asked Questions
For the complete West Nile Virus press release from Larimer County, Click Here.
For the Berthoud Press Release, Click Here
Town Board Mosquito Spraying Policy Discussions