TALLADEGA -- The City of Talladega has begun its summer mosquito spraying program, but as in the past couple of years, some areas are not being sprayed.
Public Works Director Karen Phillips explained to the City Council Monday night that low-lying and high-traffic areas of the city are being sprayed on Wednesday nights, but other areas will be sprayed only with the specific requests of residents.
Previously, the city had been divided into sectors, and streets in each sector were sprayed on a given day of the week. Phillips said Monday that she would need an additional $75,000 per year in her department’s budget to resume spraying the entire city.
In addition to spraying for adult mosquitoes, Public Works has also been “working toward removing the vegetation and sedimentation from major drainage areas on a citizen-requested basis, averaging approximately two cleanings per year,” she told the council in a memorandum. “Public Works has also instituted a larviciding program to monitor and treat standing water on public property and easements, including ditches, drainage areas, non-flowing creek systems and catch basins, in an effort to kill mosquito larvae before hatching. The larvaciding program consists of the Public Works Department monitoring known areas of standing or non-flowing water and placing a sustained-release larvicide dunk, which will suppress larval development for up to 30 days.”
The spraying and larvacide programs run from the last week in May to the first week in September, Phillips said. Because of the heavy rains so far this summer, there has been more vegetation and standing water, which in turn provides additional hatching grounds for mosquitoes.
The spray is described as “an ultra-low volume fogger (spraying) citizen-requested low-lying areas with safety-rated mosquito pesticide.” If it is raining, the wind is at more than 15 miles per hour, or the temperatures are unusually low, spraying will be delayed for a week.
In order to be placed on the Wednesday evening spraying schedule, residents should call the Public Works Department at 256-362-2825 by 2:30 p.m. Monday afternoon. If the mosquito problem persists, the resident will need to contact the department again.
To limit mosquito exposure, tuck your shirt into your pants and your pants into your socks and use an EPA-registered mosquito repellant, following the directions.
Head nets, long-sleeved shirts and long pants are recommended in high-risk areas such as marshes; try to stay in doors around sunrise and sunset when mosquitoes are most active and use yellow “bug lights” outdoors, since they attract fewer mosquitoes and other insects.
Citizens can also be active in mosquito control by removing standing water in rain gutters, old tires, buckets, plastic covers or any other area where mosquitoes can breed; changing out the water in bird baths, fountains, wading pools, rain barrels and potted plant trays at least once per week; draining temporary pools of water or filling them with dirt, and keeping swimming pools treated and circulating.
According to the EPA, mosquitoes require water for at least two phases of their life cycle, and controlling standing water can interrupt that cycle.