Spraying for mosquitoes is scheduled to begin Monday night, June 13, in the southwest area of Fort Morgan.
The City of Fort Morgan has a contract for mosquito control services with OtterTail Environmental, and the company has been performing larvicide operations throughout the city since last month. Larviciding treats standing water where mosquitoes breed and kills the insects while still in the larval stage.
OtterTail also has four mosquito traps located in the four quadrants of the city, and spraying for adult mosquitoes is triggered by the counts in those traps. The first counts were obtained this week, and the traps in the southwest portion of the city showed a volume of mosquitoes above the threshold to begin spraying operations.
Spraying is done between dusk and dawn by a truck that emits an ultra-low-volume mist. Spraying cannot be done if it is raining or stormy, so the start of operations scheduled for Monday evening and Tuesday morning is weather dependent.
The spraying trucks have a flashing light on top and usually drive through neighborhoods at about 10 to 15 mph.
Fort Morgan residents can visit the OtterTail environmental website at www.ottertail.us to learn more about the mosquito control program. Residents can also sign up on the website to be notified when spraying operations are scheduled, or to be placed on a no-spray list.
Residents who may have signed up for these notifications in previous years should visit the site again this year to be sure their information is up to date.
OtterTail would also like to hear from Fort Morgan residents who find water standing for a week or more. Standing water for only a few days will not be a problem for breeding mosquitoes, but if water is present for a week breeding is possible. For this reason, residents should check their property for areas which may collect rainwater, such as gutters, flower pots and other receptacles, and make sure to empty these.
Residents can call OtterTail’s hotline at (303) 273-2878 or (888) 774-2161 to report possible mosquito breeding habitats, substantial adult mosquito activity or to request to be placed on the notification list or no spray list. Automated notification calls generally go out the day before spraying is scheduled, but sometimes the calls may come the day of scheduled spraying.
Heidi Gerstung of OtterTail said the wet spring is likely to make this a “heavy” year for mosquitoes all over Colorado. She emphasized, however, that almost 98 percent of the mosquitoes found in Fort Morgan are “nuisance” mosquitoes, and not the Culex variety that can carry West Nile Virus.
Regarding concerns about the Zika virus, OtterTail noted a statement from the executive director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment that says the type of mosquitoes that transmit Zika do not live in Colorado. That statement can be found at https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/news/zika.
Gerstung urges everyone to wear mosquito repellent, avoid going outdoors at dusk or dawn when practical, and wear long pants and long sleeves to avoid mosquito bites.
Larvicide operations will continue in earnest throughout the mosquito season in the city, and spraying will be performed as warranted by trap counts. OtterTail has many mapped sites throughout Fort Morgan with the potential for larval development, and when mosquito larvae are found these areas are treated immediately.
OtterTail reminds city residents that regardless of the extent of mosquito control efforts within the city, there are always mosquitoes that fly in from outlying areas.
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