A proposal to spray mosquitoes from the air brought an exchange between Chairman Randy Gumm and new Commissioner Holly Allen at last Wednesday night’s Mosquito District 2 meeting in Electric City.
Commissioners, in one of their last actions in November, had budgeted $100,000 for aerial spraying this year in the hopes of controlling the mosquito population and to prevent a serious outbreak again this summer.
Gumm, who was elected chair of the group Wednesday, said possibly the only way to prevent another major outbreak of mosquitoes was to spray from the air because it was the only way to get to some of the places where the larvae exist.
Allen was quick to respond that the mosquito board needed to be diligent in how taxpayers’ money was spent.
Gumm replied that the major outbreak last year could be followed by another outbreak that might require aerial spraying.
“No one died, did they?” Allen asked.
“Do you want to wait until someone dies before you do something?” Gumm responded.
Targeted, if the board decides to spray from the air, are numerous small ponds that can’t be reached by the district’s pickup-mounted sprayer.
Tim Whittaker, who sprays for the board, said the real problem is small ponds above the coulee, outside the district boundaries. These could be sprayed from the air, but the board is in somewhat of a quandary on whether to seek an expansion of the district so the ponds could be sprayed.
Whittaker also questioned the cost of spraying.
Gumm stated that he has been around here for 44 years and “I think I have a good feel about mosquitos.”
Three newcomers joined the Grant County Mosquito District 2 Board Wednesday. In addition to Allen, Diane Canady and Carl Russell became commissioners, having been named to the board by Grant County Commissioners.
The mosquito board meets the first Wednesday night of each month, at 7 p.m., at Electric City’s council chambers.