Fargo to begin aerial mosquito spraying Saturday
Fargo's war on mosquitoes is moving to the skies. Prompted by a jump in mosquito counts that promises to continue, the Cass County Vector Control board agreed Wednesday to conduct an aerial spray over Fargo-Moorhead. Tuesday's average trap count ...
Fargo's war on mosquitoes is moving to the skies.
Prompted by a jump in mosquito counts that promises to continue, the Cass County Vector Control board agreed Wednesday to conduct an aerial spray over Fargo-Moorhead.
Tuesday's average trap count was nearly 500, compared to a count of 122 on Friday, Vector Control Director Angela Balint said.
Standing water from recent rains created a prime breeding ground for mosquitoes, and warm weather is helping them mature quickly.
"We know that they're going to be out there," Balint said. "They're out there right now."
Mosquito larvae have been found in shallow water along the Red River. It's unusual because river water usually moves enough to prevent the stagnant water favored by the West Nile-carrying insects, Cass County Engineer Keith Berndt said.
Airborne Custom Spraying of Halstad, Minn., will apply spray over Fargo and rural subdivisions Saturday.
Spraying is scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m. Aircraft will fly over the area on Friday to plan the route.
In case of bad weather, spraying will be postponed until early next week.
West Fargo may also participate, said Public Works Director Barry Johnson.
Moorhead doesn't plan aerial spraying at this point, Director of Operations Chad Martin said.
Instead, Moorhead will continue ground spraying and decide Friday whether aerial spraying is beneficial.
"That's a pretty big step," Martin said.
Aerial spraying is effective, Berndt said, but it's also pricey. One application to Fargo, West Fargo and rural subdivisions costs nearly $60,000, he said.
Costs are split between cities and the county, depending on the areas covered.
The spray's active ingredient is permethrin, the same chemical found in ground sprays already being used, Balint said. "It's a commonly used pesticide," she said.
County officials recommend that people who come in direct contact with the chemicals wash with soap and water.
Aerial spraying is a third weapon in Cass County Vector Control's arsenal. Workers already have been applying larvacides to kill immature mosquitoes. Ground sprays also are being applied.
On Wednesday, high winds forced Cass County to postpone ground spraying. It will take place from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. today in Fargo, West Fargo, Harwood, and the Highland Park and Bakke subdivisions.
Moorhead also plans to spray for mosquitoes from 8 to midnight tonight.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Andrea Domaskin at (701) 241-5556