Hayden Hayden residents were sweeping dead mosquitoes off their sidewalks last week after the town, and parts of unincorporated Routt County, were aerially sprayed with the pesticide Malathion.
"It worked out well," Town Manager Rob Straebel said. "You can still smell the Malathion in the air. It was the same concentration that we use for fogging very, very low doses."
"It's helped a bunch," Hayden Chamber of Commerce President Karen Fox said. "Everybody that sees me on the street thanks the town. I tell them to come to the Town Board meetings. People are outside, enjoying themselves. I just hope it lasts."
Some residents are questioning the effectiveness of aerially spraying more of the same pesticide, in the same concentration, if it didn't work by fogging.
"The current method of mosquito control in Hayden is not only harmful to people and the environment, but it has not eliminated the mosquito problem. Therefore, the approved aerial spray of Malathion seems illogical. This isn't working, so let's use more! Let's fog more, let's spray more!" residents Eileen Coffelt and Robin Bush wrote in a letter to the editor.
Resident Jana Robinson said the mosquitoes are a lot better than they were a couple days ago, before the spraying took place. Her niece, Bailey Robinson, who has been spending time outside, has a different opinion:
"They're a little better, but in the shade, they're still really, really bad," she said.
Time will tell if aerial spraying successfully wiped out the mosquitoes. It is recommended that the aerial spraying be done twice to eliminate the problem, but the town hasn't yet planned on a second spraying, Karen Fox said.
Straebel said the spraying has "absolutely, definitely helped."
Many residents were outside barbecuing and enjoying their yards on Thursday, the day after the spraying occurred. Those interviewed agreed that the butterfly and housefly populations seem unharmed by the Malathion.
Straebel said that the town has received many thanks from a lot of people, but that he has also received several phone calls from concerned residents.
"People were concerned about the type of chemical we were using, with the idea of aerial spraying, and with the time of day that spraying occurred. Lots of people were out grilling and kids were out playing when the spraying happened."
Because many residents spend their after-work hours outside in their yards, some said they would have preferred if the spraying had occurred at night. The 7:30 p.m. spraying found some residents running outside to cover their gardens and gather children and pets indoors.
"The airplane needed daylight for effective spraying," Straebel said. "We did tell residents the spraying would occur between 7 and 9 p.m."
"The spraying time was changed three of four times. Were kids being sprayed? I'm not sure the community members are really aware of what they're being sprayed with," Coffelt said in a telephone interview. "I don't think people appreciate what a controversial pesticide Malathion is. Honestly, I had no idea the town was fogging with the same chemical. It makes you think, where did I miss this? I don't think I missed anything, though. I don't think townspeople were ever really informed."
Coffelt emphasized that she and other concerned residents don't want to strike up a battle in town, but want to make sure that mosquito-control issues are addressed in a more environmentally correct way next time around.
Forming a committee to see what other towns are doing, providing the community with information on alternatives and costs, and distributing a community questionnaire to find out what the community really wants are some of the things Coffelt would like to see happen.
County Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak supported gathering community input and considering alternatives to aerially spraying Malathion, she wrote in a letter to Straebel. Those issues will be discussed at a meeting and public hearing sometime this fall.
County commissioners say they are still worried about the potential health and environmental effects of aerial spraying and said that, in the short amount of time allotted, they have not had adequate community discussion regarding these issues.
To reach Bonnie Nadzam call 871-4205 or e-mail email@example.com