As portions of Sevier County are starting to fill with floodwater, mosquito abatement crew members are asking for help and understanding from the public this summer.
“It’s only going to get worse,” said Branton Nielson, county mosquito abatement director. “We’re in for a bad one.”
So far the county has deployed some $30,000 worth of larvicide in an attempt to stop mosquito populations from exploding in the county. A crew of five men and three trucks spray nearly every night of the week in order to keep mosquitos down between the mouth of Marysvale Canyon in the south and Redmond in the north.
While spraying, Nielson said abatement crews have to follow the label instructions.
“The label is the law, and the label says we have to allow three days of downtime before spraying the same area again,” Nielson said.
While sprayers are out each night, they are hitting different routes.
The mosquito abatement crew also monitors for West Nile Virus, testing each week to make sure it hasn’t infiltrated the county.
“We do all the testing at our facility,” Nielson said.
Everyone can help with the mosquito problem by doing a few simple things, according to Nielson.
Eliminating standing water from old tires, planters with drip trays and even wading pools can be a big help in reducing the places mosquitos have to breed.
Reporting areas of special concern that may not be able to be easily eliminated can also help.
“If people see something and bring it to our attention, I’d love it,” Nielson said. The mosquito abatement office can be reached by calling (435) 896-6636.
Another thing people need to do is use mosquito repellant with DEET in it, Nielson said. Wearing long sleeves in the evening and morning hours can also help protect people from bites.
“We are all in this together,” Nielson said. With a limited budget and rising water throughout the county, Nielson said the fight against mosquitos will be extremely difficult this year.
Many people in the county have requested the mosquito abatement crews not spray near their property.
Nielson said while the department honors those requests, if the mosquitos become a public health concern, no-spray requests will be suspended.