Town's anti-bug budget may double

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— The town of Hayden is proposing to spend twice as much as was spent this year to control mosquitoes next summer.

Along with the proposed $36,000 expenditure for mosquito control in the 2001 budget, the town is going to seek help from a man who operates a successful mosquito abatement program in Utah.

"It is a lot of money," Town Manager Rob Straebel said of the proposal. But "there were six weeks this past summer where you could not do anything outside."

Last year, the town spent $14,000 fighting mosquitoes. That battle included two aerial sprayings and numerous foggings with a truck.

"It did not work at all," Straebel said. "It went all for not."

The expenditure to control the insects was presented to Mayor Chuck Grobe and the Board of Trustees during a budget workshop.

"The community is tired of not being able to enjoy their summer," Grobe said in support of the expenditure.

To control the mosquitoes better next summer, the town plans to work with Dr. Steven Romney, director of Uintah County's Mosquito Abatement Program in Utah.

"He is a genius when it comes to mosquito control," Straebel said of Romney, who has been fighting the insect since 1975.

Romney has offered the town his services for free.

"The best way to solve the problem is you need to have people learn the joy of mosquito control," Romney said. "We are willing to train local residents for free on how to control mosquitoes."

Romney, who has a doctorate in biology, would like for the town to send two employees to Utah in early spring.

"You need to find motivated people, who do not need a supervisor," he said. "I suggest the town try and recruit teachers or college students for the job."

To control the blood-sucking insects, Romney suggests the town map out areas where mosquitoes hatch along the Yampa River and on farms where flood irrigation is done.

Once the areas are identified, Romney suggests the town have the two employees use the organic liquid BTI to kill the mosquito eggs before they hatch.

"BTI is harmless to everything, except mosquito larvae," Romney said. "Map the dickens out of the area, and have the two employees each week check the sources.

"You can kill the larva before they hatch, or chase the hell out of them with a fogger.

"Fogging is not a good approach. There are too many factors, including the wind that makes it tough."

Along with sending two employees to Utah for Romney's training, the town is proposing to conduct four aerial sprays during the summer.

For two of the sprayings, BTI will be used to kill unhatched larvae. The

other two will involve the spraying of Dibrome or AquaReslin to kill adult mosquitoes, Straebel said.

The key to the town's success for controlling mosquitoes next year will be finding the right people for the job, Straebel said.

"We need to start recruiting them, so they can come on board in April," he said. "We will pay them $10 an hour."

Also included in the expenditure is the cost of traps.

"We are going to purchase carbon monoxide traps that attract mosquitoes," Straebel said.

The traps also will help the town keep tabs on the mosquito population.

Straebel also is going to develop a volunteer program for residents who own areas where there are large mosquito populations.

"I want to have a volunteer program for large landowners to self administer chemicals to standing water on their property," he said.

Board Trustee Ken Gibbon is hopeful the commitment by the town will pay off.

"We made a promise to the community that we would go after this problem wholeheartedly," he said. "We have to go into this and do what Dr. Romney suggests."

Straebel stressed to the elected officials the proposed funds for mosquito abatement will be used only if it is necessary.

The proposed expenditure "is to deal with the worst-case scenario," Straebel said. "We might have a total different summer.

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