City hop­ing to squash mos­quito pop­u­la­tion

The Southwest Booster - - FRONT PAGE - JA­SON KERR SOUTH­WEST BOOSTER

The City of Swift Cur­rent played host to thou­sands of vis­i­tors dur­ing the cen­ten­nial weekend, but it’s now play­ing host to some much more un­wanted guests.

Mos­qui­tos are blan­ket­ing the city af­ter heavy rain cre­ated pools of stand­ing wa­ter, which turned the South­west into a breed­ing ground for the tiny in­sects.

So far the City is do­ing ev­ery­thing they can to keep the pests un­der con­trol, trav­el­ling up to 5 kilo­me­ters out­side the city to try and fight the nui­sance.

“We’ve ba­si­cally just tar­geted all the stag­nant bod­ies of wa­ter,” Swift Cur­rent Parks Man­ager Andy Toth said.

“We’re pretty for­tu­nate with our staff to have some­body, which I call a tech­ni­cian, that’s been do­ing it for a num­ber of years and knows ex­actly where those stag­nant bod­ies of wa­ter are.”

Toth said they’re putting an en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly prod­uct called Vec­to­bac into stag­nant wa­ter patches in the area. The prod­uct dis­solves into the wa­ter, killing the mos­quito lar­vae shortly af­ter they hatch.

“Tim­ing is ev­ery­thing,” Toth says. “We have to hit them at the right stages when you ap­ply this.”

The is­sue was raised dur­ing Swift Cur­rent City Coun­cil’s meet­ing on Mon­day af­ter res­i­dents be­gan ques­tion­ing their rep­re­sen­ta­tives about the is­sue.

Toth said he’s sym­pa­thetic to their con­cerns, but said things could be much worse.

“If it’s any con­so­la­tion, if you think it’s bad, we’ve al­ways said it could be 50 times worse if we weren’t do­ing what we are do­ing,” Toth told coun­cilors.

Mos­qui­tos can travel sev­eral kilo­me­tres by them­selves on a calm day, so those windy days the city is suf­fer­ing from are only in­creas­ing their range. Toth said he thinks the wind has in­creased the pop­u­la­tion in the area, but adds that the worst is in the past.

“The bulk of the rain is gone and maybe we can look into a dryer July and Au­gust,” Toth said. “I think we should be fine from there.”

The city said the pro­gram is work­ing well, but there are things res­i­dents can do to get rid of the in­sects a lit­tle quicker. Eave­stroughs, bird baths and rain bar­rels are breed­ing grounds for mos­qui­tos, and res­i­dents should be pre­pared to empty or clean them from time to time.

“If they just empty those reg­u­larly they should be fine,” he said.

Toth also men­tioned that the rise in the pop­u­la­tion hasn’t af­fected the Culex Tarsalis mos­qui­tos, which are known to carry the West Nile virus.

That par­tic­u­lar type of mos­quito is rarely been seen in the south­west, and things haven’t changed over the sum­mer.

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