Ashton Council to invest in mosquito fighting machine and spray

AP

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ASHTON — The city council decided to fight back against an unusual number of mosquitoes this summer by purchasing a $3,000 machine and chemical spray to get rid of the bugs.

On Wednesday, the council voted to purchase the equipment from the ADAPCO Company. According to its web page, the company “is a world leader in innovative mosquito control solutions.”

It was all done at the behest of Councilwoman Teresa Hansen who noted numerous mosquitoes in Ashton this summer. She recently met with an official from the ADAPCO Company about spraying against mosquitoes.

“Our area is so very bad, really really bad (with mosquitoes). It was amazing to him that we haven’t even considered this. St. Anthony and Idaho Falls do this – everybody but us,” she said.

Hansen reported that a neighboring state recently suffered a mosquito-related illness, and she’s hoping to prevent it from spreading here by partnering with ADAPCO.

“Wyoming has its very first case of West Nile Virus because of mosquitoes,” she said.

The Wyoming Department of Health reported that a “Presumptive viremic donor” tested positive for the disease following a blood donor screening. As of June 7, it is the only such case reported by Cowboy State officials.

According to Hansen, the $3,000 ADAPCO machine fits into the back of a pickup and doesn’t require any special training to use. ADAPCO would also provide Ashton with a five-gallon mixture that it could either pre-make or St. Anthony workers could mix it themselves. The mixture retails for $800, but ADAPCO would sell it to St. Anthony for $200.

Councilman Jerry Funke suggested that, just to be safe, that the council have ADAPCO mix the bug spray for the city.

“I’ve handled a lot of chemicals in farming. Get somebody to do it. With their own premix, you’re not exposing people. We’re learning that every day people are being exposed (to chemicals),” he said.

The ADAPCO machine comes with a switch that can be flipped off should various residents ask that their yards not be sprayed. The most effective days to spray are when the winds are three miles an hour or less, and any days where the winds are 10 miles an hour or more, spraying isn’t advised, Hansen said.

Should the city find that it needs a larger mosquito spraying machine following this summer season, it would be possible to purchase a larger piece of equipment, and that ADAPCO would buy back the smaller machine.

In the meantime, Hansen said that the ADAPCO official believed the smaller machine would work well and be effective enough to spray all of Ashton each time it was used.

“(He said) the machine he suggested would be fine,” she said.

Hansen learned about ADAPCO’s mosquito killing spray and equipment via St. Anthony officials who purchased a similar machine of their own but a larger one for $6,000. Such is necessary because St. Anthony is a larger community than is Ashton, Hansen said.

“It helps to get their whole city on Monday, Wednesday and Friday,” she said.

According to Hansen, St. Anthony hasn’t had any reports of people suffering from health effects or wildlife being negatively impacted because of the mosquito spray.

“There have been no issues that everyone was kind of concerned about,” she said.

Hansen reported that she had suggested getting some type of mosquito repellent to spray in the community several years ago, but each time was met with resistance.

“Nobody wanted to do it. (They said) ‘It ruins the fishing,’ ‘I’m allergic,’ or ‘I have asthma,’” she said.

Yet, with the increase of mosquitoes, and the threat of West Nile Virus in Wyoming, Hansen opted to again suggest the city combat mosquitoes this summer.

The council noted that it has the funds for such a machine in its budget and unanimously agreed to purchase the equipment. It was expected that the city would order the equipment on Monday with the expectation the equipment would be received shortly afterward.

According to the Mayo Clinic, a mild case of the West Nile Virus manifests itself via fever, body aches, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue and skin rashes.

“In less than one percent of infected people, the virus causes a serious neurological infection, including inflammation of the brain (encephalitis) and of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord (meningitis),” it said.

Such neurological infections include high fever, severe headache, stiff neck, disorientation, stupor, muscle jerking, seizures and muscle weakness, the Mayo Clinic said.

“Signs and symptoms of West Nile fever usually last a few days, but signs and symptoms of encephalitis or meningitis can linger for weeks or months. Certain neurological effects, such as muscle weakness, can be permanent,” it said.

To prevent infection, the Mayo Clinic urges people to unclog roof gutters, change water in birdbaths and pet bowls regularly, get rid of old tires or unused containers holding water that often prove to be a breeding place for mosquitoes. It also suggested that people repair screens on windows and doors. It also urged everyone to avoid outdoor activities during dawn, dusk and early evening, to wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants outdoors, to apply mosquito repellent and to cover an infants’ strollers and playpens with mosquito netting.

Hansen believes it’s necessary for the city to spray for mosquitoes to prevent anyone in the Ashton community from suffering from the West Nile Virus.

“I think we owe it to the City of Ashton to do this,” she said.

For more information on preventing the West Nile Virus, visit https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/west-nile-virus/symptoms-causes/syc-20350320

The city council meets at 7 p.m., Wednesday, July 10, at city hall. The meeting is open to residents. For more information, call 208-652-3987.

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