Municipalities work to combat West Nile Virus
Published 5:00 am Monday, August 12, 2002
Area officials are stepping up their efforts to combatmosquitoes and the West Nile virus threat.
Aldermen last week approved an up to $14,000 emergency purchaseof additional insecticide and larvicide.
Jimmy Griffin, street department superintendent, said agranulated larvicide arrived Thursday, and he was looking forinsecticide briquettes Friday. He was hoping to start placing thosearound the city Monday.
“I’d rather put them out together,” Griffin said.
Griffin said the granulated material will be put in drainageditches and areas where there is light water movement. Thebriquettes, which float and last up to 60 days, will be put inlow-lying areas.
“It activates every time it gets wet,” Griffin said about howthe briquette works.
Griffin said the materials are safe, but he advised citizens toleave them alone if they see them in a ditch or elsewhere.
“It’s environmentally safe. We wouldn’t buy it if is wasn’t,”Griffin said.
Meanwhile, the city is continuing its spraying activities sixnights a week. The spraying truck alternates so that each side oftown is sprayed three times a week.
Griffin said spraying season generally runs from late May tolate October and costs about $1,000 a week. He said last week’sadditional funding was in case the price of spraying materials goesup or if the spraying season has to be extended.
“We may or may not need it,” Griffin said about the funding.
While the city is working on the mosquito problem, Griffin saidcitizens can also help.
“We can only do so much with a sprayer,” Griffin said. “They’rethe ones who are going to have to patrol and police their ownproperty.”
Mayor David Nichols said their mosquito control techniques wereapparently working because the population appeared to be low.
The town sprays once a week, he said, and includes Atwood WaterPark in their route.
“You can cover the entire town in one evening,” Nichols said,adding he does the spraying himself. “It works. Our mosquitopopulation stays consistently low.”
Nichols and Aldermen Steve Moreman and George Magee attended aMississippi State Department of Health workshop Friday inHattiesburg about mosquito control techniques and the West Nilevirus.
After attending the meeting, all three agree that “the city canonly do so much,” Nichols said. “Look around your house and placeof business for anything that can contain water and take thenecessary measures to reduce or eliminate that standing water.”
The mayor said with help the town can “minimize the threat ofWest Nile and all other mosquito-borne diseases.”
The type of spray they use not only kills the adult mosquito butalso the larvae, Nichols said.
“It costs a little more, but it works well,” he said.
After listening to the MSDH officials, Nichols said he isconvinced the town’s mosquito control strategy is sound and thatthey are doing all they can to combat mosquito infestationsthere.
“I don’t think we have to change a thing,” he said. “We willcontinue to spray once a week and possibly more if a rise in themosquito population is noticed.”
Some relief came to residents Thursday night when the town’smosquito spraying truck went back into use.
The truck has been broken for much of the summer, but was fixedafter the problem was brought to the board of aldermen’s attentionearlier this week.
“We got it fixed and sprayed the entire town,” said Town ClerkLinda Dykes.
A town resident provided the missing part, a pulley, which hadbeen hard to locate because of the age of the mosquito sprayingmachine, according to Mark Brown, who now oversees the sprayingprocess.
Aldermen opted to look at the possibility of buying a newmosquito sprayer if the budget allowed. They are in the process ofobtaining information about new machines.
In the mean time, the town will be protected by the 35-year-oldmachine on a regular basis.
Town employees plan to spray a few times a week to keep themosquito problem at bay.
“We’re not sure yet about how often we will spray or what theprocedure will be,” said Dykes, mentioning that half of the townmay be sprayed one night and the other half the next night.
One thing that town officials are certain of is that it will bea thorough job each time.
“It took about five hours to spray Thursday because he took histime so it would all be covered real well,” said Dykes.
A concerned citizen group of about 33 members has offered topossibly make a donation to the fundraising effort for a newmachine. A new sprayer could cost around $6,000.
Any other residents wishing to contribute to the effort, shouldcontact town hall.