County plans aerial mosquito sprays

BLACKFOOT — Bingham County plans to conduct aerial spraying for mosquitoes this weekend in an effort to reduce the adult mosquito population.
Bingham County Emergency Manager Craig Rowland said a fixed-wing, double propellor airplane operated by Vector Disease Control International will be used to apply aerial adulticide over 38,400 acres in Bingham County. The plane will operate from 7:30 p.m.-midnight Saturday and may also operate Friday from 9:30 p.m.-midnight. The sprays are weather-dependent.
Rowland said the insecticide used is Dibrom, is certified safe for adults and will not harm pets. The spraying will occur at night when mosquitoes are the most active.
Treatment areas include along the Snake River and American Falls Reservoir from Rockford to Aberdeen, Shelley, Firth and the areas near the Diversion Dam.
Flooding last month in Bingham County has created a double-edged sword for mosquito abatement. As flood waters from the Snake River have receded, pools of standing water have been left behind, creating the ideal habitat for mosquitoes to breed. Additionally, officials were unable to use larvicide to battle the mosquitoes at McTucker Ponds because the road to the ponds was washed out. Now they are working to battle adult mosquitoes there.
"With the flood waters, it's looking to be a very bad mosquito year," said Tim Bennett, Northwest regional director for Vector Disease Control International. VDCI is the firm contracted to combat mosquitoes in Bingham County.
Rowland said mosquitoes are everywhere, but are especially thick between Pingree and Aberdeen.
"They're really bad everywhere," Rowland said. "We've got water now where we didn't have before."
Vector Disease Control has been out since April larviciding ponds and have used foggers to battle adult mosquitoes. But the flood waters and weather have not been conducive to effective mosquito abatement.
"We're rolling full-speed ahead," Bennett said.
Bennett has also been trapping, identifying and testing mosquitoes for West Nile Virus. He said the Culex tarsalis mosquitoes carry the West Nile Virus, and while he's only seen a few of those, he expects to see more as the weather warms. None have tested positive for WNV.
"They tend to be a later season, warmer weather mosquito," Bennett said. "We do expect to see more of that species as the summer continues."
Mosquito abatement will not rest over the Fourth of July holiday weekend and, in addition to the aerial spraying, larviciding and fogging will continue.
"We will be out in full force this weekend," Rowland said.
For those spending time outdoors this weekend, Bennett recommended use of mosquito repellent and wear long pants and sleeves when possible. Property owners should eliminate standing water and make sure their screens on doors and windows are in good condition.
For more information about Bingham County Mosquito Abatement activities, call Rowland's office at 782-3190 or Vector Disease Control at 690-9563.