Efforts under way to control mosquitoes

Are mosquitoes biting you? Parks Manager Gary Emmett, overseeing the mosquito control program for the Town of Lovell, said his crews are trying to stay on top of the mosquito population, but the weather has created several delays and hindered the effectiveness of the applications of control measures.
“The recent winds and rains have caused us not to be able to spray on our regular schedule, and this has aided in a larger mosquito population,” said Emmett. “Wyoming has 42 identified species of mosquitoes, and they can live in many different types of environments.  The town has six monitoring traps, placed throughout the town limits, that are able to trap and collect mosquitoes at night and then the traps are emptied each morning and mosquitoes are then identified to see which species are in this area.”
Emmett and his crew also monitor mosquito larva by testing or dipping water samples from areas that have standing or slow moving water. This dipping method allows for identification of mosquito eggs, larvae and pupae stages of their life cycle. However, there are many unidentified areas that allow for mosquito populations to develop and grow, especially in homeowner yards.
Ideal breeding grounds in a yard can be anywhere a tablespoon of water can be contained. In fact, there are species of mosquitoes that will lay their eggs, the moisture will evaporate and the eggs will lie dormant until more moisture accumulates. This can happen over the weekend or even over a year.
Emmett is advising residents to be diligent in not allowing water to accumulate in pots, planters, old tires or anything that can hold water.  He said even the hollow knots or cracks in trees and in house siding, rain gutters and garbage cans can create a habitat for mosquitoes to lay eggs and hatch.
Most mosquitoes live and die within a few hundred feet from where they are hatched but can travel up to a couple of miles for a food source if necessary. Only female mosquitoes need a blood meal, while male mosquitoes live on mostly flower nectar or similar sugary substances. A blood meal for the female helps produce her eggs.  On average, a female will take three blood meals in her lifespan, and will lay up to 3,000 eggs.
The town crew applies a granulated product known as a larvacide to control the early stages of the mosquito life cycle to these identified bodies of water. They even place small cubes into the storm drains around town to control breeding mosquitoes that are there too.  This method can control millions of larvae effectively before they hatch and start flying.
The most visible, yet least effective method, used to control mosquitoes is the fogging machine. The Town of Lovell uses the fogging machine in the early evening hours, weather permitting, to help control the flying adults. Some residents have expressed concern that the drivers are driving too fast for the proper applications. Emmett notes the machine has been calibrated and tested for a driving speed of 12-18 mph. He said at this speed the chemical is fractured into a small particle, helping it to slowly drift through the air. Wind, temperature and humidity all play into how long the fog will stay suspended in the air before falling to the ground.
Emmett and his crew are doing what they can to control the mosquito population in the town. He said, however, that with the large areas of agriculture and all of the water sources in town and surrounding areas, mosquitoes will continue to be a nuisance. The Town of Lovell is also in the process of getting permission from homeowners along the Globe Canal to gain access to those areas along the canal that are prime breeding habitat for mosquitoes in an effort to reduce the mosquito populations from that section of town.
“It requires a joint effort between the Town’s program and citizens working in their own yards to control the little biting buggers,” said Emmett.
An informational program on Mosquito Control can be seen throughout the month of July on TCT television, channel 857.