The buzz around town
WORTHINGTON -- 'Tis the season when the Minnesota state bird -- no, not the loon, the mosquito -- comes out to play . Many towns in southwest Minnesota choose to spray for mosquitoes, but Worthington isn't one of them. Worthington City Administra...
WORTHINGTON - ’Tis the season when the Minnesota state bird - no, not the loon, the mosquito - comes out to play .
Many towns in southwest Minnesota choose to spray for mosquitoes, but Worthington isn’t one of them.
Worthington City Administrator Steve Robinson said the city researched spraying for mosquitoes last year - when he wasn’t a city employee - but decided not to go ahead with it.
“It was looked into in detail a year ago, and one thing we looked at was contracting for aerial spraying,” Robinson said. “It was determined at that time that it was cost-prohibitive.
“It was also looked into that the city would acquire the equipment to do our spraying ourselves,” Robinson added. “That didn’t go very far, because we’d have to not only purchase the equipment but also get people licensed. For whatever reason, it wasn’t pursued.”
Robinson said buying all the equipment to spray would be costly. However, Josh Malchow, Slayton’s city administrator, said this year is the third year Slayton has sprayed, and he believes it is well worth the initial cost.
Malchow said the spraying machine cost around $10,000 for the initial capital expenditure. This year, he added, Slayton had to buy all new product to spray at a cost between $5,000 and $8,000.
Malchow measures the success of the venture by the comments he has received from the community’s residents.
“The only way we have to measure it - because we don’t do any mosquito counts or anything - is by less complaints at city hall,” Malchow said.
“People just say that there are a lot less bugs out there.”
Jeffrey Hahn, an entomologist at the University of Minnesota Extension office, said that although he understands the desire for cities to spray for mosquitoes, it can be easier said than done.
He said treating a town the size of Worthington can be a daunting task. To really do the job, one would have to treat not only the town but a one- or two-mile radius outside of town, including the waterscape, he explained.
“You can temporarily reduce the effect of mosquitoes by treating, but it’s not going to last long,” Hahn said. “... Mosquito numbers are tied to rainfall. The more abundant the rainfall, the more mosquitoes we are going to have.”
Although Worthington hasn’t taken any steps to start spraying, Robinson said he thinks the discussion will be brought up again.
“I would say it’s not an issue that has been completely closed to further discussion,” Robinson said. “All I know is it was looked at a year ago, and the decision was made to not pursue it.”
Tips and facts from entomologist Jeff Hahns
the branch of zoology concerned with the study of insects
- There are more 50 species of mosquitoes in Minnesota.
- Mosquitoes can fly a mile or two - but may travel more with the help of the wind.
- They are attracted to humans because of the carbon dioxide we produce and the chemical odors we give. Some people’s odors are more attractive to mosquitoes than others. That’s why some people will be eaten up and others will barely be bitten.
- Male mosquitoes do not bite. Only females do - it helps with the reproduction of their eggs.
- Aedes Vexans is the type of mosquito that is common to biting humans. They are flood-water mosquitoes and nest in bodies of water.
- Culex is the genus of the few mosquito species that carry the West Nile virus. Luckily, they are less common in Minnesota because they are not a flood-water mosquito.
- The best protection from mosquitoes is personal protection like repellent that contains DEET and wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants.
- Mosquitoes typically avoid direct sunlight and prefer shaded areas.
- Although bug zappers create a “satisfying sound,” they don’t make a big impact on the bug population and offer nearly zero protection.
- Devices that say they give off sounds of a bat or male mosquitoes don’t work and are just gimmicks.