Mosquito spraying in Hayden will begin soon and could extend to neighboring county areas.
Hayden Town Manager Russ Martin and Mayor Chuck Grobe visited the Routt County commissioners Tuesday to inform them of the spraying and received authorization to spray county properties whose owners request it, with the condition that all adjacent landowners be notified of the spraying.
"The way the weather has been, (spraying) could be in a couple of weeks," Grobe told commissioners.
The town will use Aqua-Reslin, the same substance it began using last summer, for aerial spraying during mornings or evenings. This fairly new chemical, produced by Bayer Environmental Science, is considered less harmful than the long-used Malathion, which can be dangerous or irritating to a number of animals, including humans.
Aqua-Reslin is not an irritant to eyes, skin, nose or throat tissue, according to Bayer. It can be diluted with water rather than oil.
The town began using Aqua-Reslin last year after receiving requests to decrease Malathion spraying from residents who worried about its health impacts. The town committed to spraying less often and relying more on larvicides, such as BTI. However, the reduction of spraying allowed the mosquito population to increase and prompted the change in pesticide.
Controlling mosquitoes is not a luxury; it is an effort to control the deadly West Nile virus that the insects can carry, Grobe said. Last summer, there were more than 2,900 human infections in Colorado. Fifty-four deaths as a result of the virus were reported, a dramatic increase from the year before.
The spread of the virus may be what has prompted several county residents to request spraying of their property.
"I don't have a problem with it, but surrounding landowners should be notified," Routt County Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak said.
As in previous years, before any spraying occurs, the town will publish public service announcements in several forms to inform residents that the chemical will be in the air.
BTI, which comes in tablet form and is applied to stagnant water to kill larvae, will remain an important part of the mosquito battle.
Residents can alleviate the problem by removing any stagnant water from buckets, birdbaths or clogged gutters, and keeping yards free from weeds and tall grass.