Pesky "skeeters targeted

Cole County established protocol for pest management

Cole County commissioners adopted a pest management policy Tuesday that Health Director Kristi Campbell said focuses "not on nuisances, but more on preventing diseases."

Since November, the Cole County Public Works and Health Departments have been looking at developing a pest management protocol.

Until now, the Public Works Department has been doing its spraying based on complaints from communities in the county.

The protocol deals with how the county should do more general spraying or using larvacide that could target mosquitoes in a specific area.

The county did more testing in past years when it had grant money available, especially when West Nile Virus was more prevalent, but when that money went away, the county went back to complaint-driven pest management.

"By developing this plan, we can have a more scientific basis on how we deal with mosquito problems," Campbell said. "We'll be using guidelines given by the Centers for Disease Control."

According to the policy, during the months of April through September, the Health Department will monitor surveillance data of reported cases of diseases such as West Nile that can be carried by mosquitoes. The data will consist of current and prior human and animal cases in a geographic area of the county. Prior or current reports of positive pools of infected mosquitoes shall also be tracked.

Russellville resident Paula Bollinger-Burkemper asked the commission to look at changing its pest management practices last year. At Tuesday's commission meeting, said she was pleased to see progress. She did ask, though that there be advance notice given when spraying would be planned.

Campbell said they are looking at doing that on the health and Public Works Department Web pages and possibly sending out texts to residents.

Spraying is usually done in at dusk or dawn when mosquitoes are most active on either Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Thursdays.

The county will continue to offer an opt-out option if residents don't want the spraying around their property.

Bollinger-Burkemper also asked the county continue to look at using more organic lines of pesticides to use against mosquitoes.

The county has used Mosquitomist One for several years in their mist.

Campbell and county public works officials said in talking with officials who distribute the insecticide, Clarke Mosquito Control Products, what the county has sprayed is not harmful to humans.

Bollinger-Burkemper said last year that in her research this insecticide contains Chlorpyrifos, a controlling insecticide could possibly cause a malfunction of the nervous system.

Public works officials said they have been looking at organic options, some of which contain garlic, but their effectiveness has been varied. They said they will continue to look for alternatives and want to make sure larvacide is placed in as many potential trouble spots as possible to combat mosquitoes.

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