FLINT TWP. — To spray or not to spray? That is the question when it comes to mosquito control in the township.
Township Supervisor Karyn Miller said she has taken calls from residents wanting to know if the township sprays to control the pests but she has also heard from residents who are against using chemical control methods.
Deciding it was a good time to consult with experts, Miller invited Rose Pest Control to make an FYI presentation at the board meeting last week.
Joe Flood, the Municipal Mosquito Coordinator for Rose, described a four-part abatement program that includes monitoring and surveillance of breeding sites, preventive and abatement spraying treatments and community outreach.
Flood said they have seen mosquitoes hatch in something as small as a sardine can then grow into populations large enough to plaque an entire neighborhood. They only need seven to 10 days to go from eggs to adults. Children’s plastic Turtle sandboxes are another water-holding contraption known to turn into a mosquito breeding ground. Toilets are another source and last year for the first time a kitchen sink turned out to be the culprit, he said. Educating the public about eliminating wet places where mosquitoes can breed is part of their outreach services, he said. Flood said Rose has been in business since 1860, making it the nation’s oldest pest control company. Its first customer was the Union Army, he said. It is a family-run business with 14 knowledgeable entomologists on staff. They have branches in several states but locally have mosquito abatement contracts in Grand Blanc Township and the City of Montrose. Control is important because mosquitoes carry diseases such as West Nile Virus, Encephalitis, Malaria, Yellow Fever and Dengue Fever. Only female mosquitoes bite so part of Rose services is to monitor the number of adult females caught in a device called a New Jersey Light Trap. Mosquitoes in the trap also are monitored periodically for West Nile Virus. Starting in spring, Rose technicians regularly go out to test standing water sites and detect unknown ones. In some cases, water that cannot be removed is treated to prevent mosquitoes from hatching and in other cases Rose sprays to kill off large living populations of mosquitoes. Most municipalities Rose works with have a mosquito abatement millage in place to pay for the services, he said. Genesee County does not have a mosquito control program. Flood also answered questions from the board about the types of chemicals used to spray and how residents who do not want their property sprayed can set up a Shut Off plan so that spray will not be used around their property. Rose also sends out advance notice before spraying so that residents can take pets indoors and close windows or take other precautions to prevent the chemicals from doing harm, Flood said. Miller thanked Flood for his presentation and added that she did not know if the board would act on the information. Rose was invited to come in “to start a conversation” about mosquito control in the township, she said, emphasizing it was for informational purposes only at this point.