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City will fog mosquitoes when population high or complaints grow

The city street department fogged for mosquitoes last week.

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The mosquito fogger is filled with chemicals, and an employee will drive the pickup at about 5 to 8 mph when fogging for mosquitoes.
Masaki Ova / The Jamestown Sun
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JAMESTOWN – The city of Jamestown will keep fogging mosquitoes when the population gets bad or the complaints grow, according to Rick Lipetzky, street foreman.

“We are out and about ourselves, so we know when they are bad,” Lipetzky said.

The city street department fogged for mosquitoes last week in all areas of Jamestown. The department also fogged the parks, around the baseball diamonds when the state baseball tournament was in Jamestown and Hillcrest Golf Course, he said.

Lipetzky expects the city will do more fogging this year when the weather warms up because of all the precipitation Jamestown has received. Mosquito larvae and pupae live in the water, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“I’m expecting a big-time explosion of them,” Lipetzky said.

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Workers check nine mosquito traps that are spread all over Jamestown whenever they can because the city does not have a vector control officer. He said the last count was 11 mosquitoes per trap.

Lipetzky said it can be deceiving to go by the mosquito average per trap.

“They can be horrible, and you know you have to go spray and then you only have an average of five,” he said. “The next time you will have an average of 15, and it’s like, they aren’t bad.”

When the city fogs for mosquitoes, the chemical gets dumped into the fogging machine that is on the back of a pickup, and someone will drive the vehicle about 5 to 8 mph, Lipetzky said.

“We don’t go over 10 mph because that’s the recommendation for the machines,” he said. “We go up every avenue, every street and through every alley.”

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City employees use this truck and fogging machine to fog for mosquitoes in every street, avenue and alley in Jamestown.
Masaki Ova / The Jamestown Sun

He said the fogging isn’t going to kill every mosquito. He said when the conditions are right, you can see the fog drifting slowly through the trees.

“It pulls the wind when they spray. It’s not like you are trying to kill the mosquitoes upwind,” he said. “Regardless of what people think, we do know what we are doing when it comes to this.”

He said the entire city can be fogged in one night if it needs to be done with two trucks and two fogging machines.

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City Administrator Sarah Hellekson said the city won’t spray during the day because it wants to avoid anyone from coming into contact with the chemicals.

The city has put larvicide pellets in areas of standing water about a mile radius around Jamestown. The city has three different durations of larvicide – 45 days, 90 days and 180 days.

Larvicide is a type of insecticide that kills mosquito larvae before they can grow into adults, according to the CDC.

Lipetzky said aerial spraying will be done if the mosquito populations get bad. He said aerial spraying happens in the evenings.

Hellekson said the city has done aerial spraying at least once this year. She did not have a cost for the aerial spraying because it hadn’t been entered into the system yet.

She said the city keeps enough funds in the vector control account for aerial mosquito control.

She said there is about $300,000 in the vector control account. Property owners contribute $1 per month toward the vector control account through the city utility bill.

Some challenges this year include increasing costs of chemicals and fuel and the city not having a vector control officer, Hellekson said. She said a 150-gallon barrel of chemicals costs about $3,500.

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She said the city is looking for a vector control officer, which would be a year-round position.

Related Topics: JAMESTOWNSTUTSMAN COUNTY
Masaki Ova joined The Jamestown Sun in August 2021 as a reporter. He grew up on a farm near Pingree, N.D. He majored in communications at the University of Jamestown, N.D.
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