July 24, 2013 Edition

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WR increases mosquito
control efforts, methods

Gloria Wilkerson
Staff Writer

The Walnut Ridge Mosquito Control Committee is ramping up efforts to decrease the city's mosquito population. Many changes are being made beginning this week in spraying times and methods.

Mayor Don House said the committee met at noon on Monday and agreed on the changes in hopes of reducing the numbers of the summer pests.

"We have planned an all-out onslaught against our serious mosquito population," House said.

The committee voted to begin spraying Stewart Park and every passable alleyway within the city limits between 4 and 7 a.m., six days a week. They will be sprayed again between 4 and 7 p.m. each evening, giving those areas a double dose of spray each day. The Rails to Trails path will also be sprayed very early each morning, Monday through Saturday.

"People need to clear alleyways near them of all debris and make sure no vehicles are blocking the city's trucks from getting through," Mayor House said.

"People accustomed to trucks spraying between 8 p.m. and midnight will notice a new schedule for spraying. The trucks will be running between 6 and 9 p.m., Monday through Saturday," House added. "In addition, three aerial applications will be made, with the first one this weekend, weather permitting."

Alderman Michael "Button" Wallin, chair of the city's mosquito control committee, said, "I feel aerial application will be the key to better control of these pests. The joint effort of ground and aerial spraying should allow us to do a more effective job."

Wallin has secured Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approval for aerial spraying over the city.

Mayor House said each aerial application, including the chemical and fuel for the plane, will cost between $2,300 and $2,400.

"We will also increase the strength of the chemical being sprayed by our trucks," he said. "We can't kill them all but we can try to control them. Ground application will interrupt the breeding sites, and the plane applications are intended to kill them."

He added that none of the chemicals the city will be using are harmful to pets, wildlife or humans. They have the chemical company's assurance that it is safe.

"We are also continuing to put mosquito briquettes in city ditches, standing water and ponds," House said. "The briquettes aren't harmful to fish but will keep larva from hatching. In addition, we have set multiple mosquito traps around town, and they will be checked on a daily basis."

Citizens are asked to notify city hall if they know of any standing water that is not being treated. House said citizens can also aid the city in this fight by cleaning up around their property, emptying anything that can hold stagnant water and by making sure there is no tall grass left uncut.

"We can all make a lot of difference by working together. Even small efforts can make a difference," Mayor House said. "It all helps and will allow us to better enjoy being outdoors during the summer months."

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