Ad Spot

Russellville turns focus to mosquitos

The Russellville Street Department has more on its plate than ever this summer, tasked with keeping certain pests from bugging local residents.

The street department has been running sprayers throughout Russellville to gain control of mosquito populations, following the city council’s unanimous purchase of an additional sprayer in February, at a cost of $8,495.

“We’re learning about this as we go,” said Councilman Gary Cummings. “If you see these guys (from the street department) around town, you need to thank them … They are really stepping up, and that’s what it’s all about.”

Mayor David Grissom said the council is attempting to be proactive in targeting mosquitos, particularly with the current concerns about the Zika virus and other viruses carried and transmitted by these tiny flies. Grissom said the city has been leaning heavily on the knowledge and expertise of Dr. Joe Cooney and biologist Barry Pace, who have been able to guide the city in successful spraying for mosquitos.

“I was totally unaware that all spraying needs to take place at 78 degrees or below and winds 10 miles per hour or less,” Grissom said. “You’re not going to find that out from the people trying to sell you chemical for the sprayers.”

Grissom said they have also learned spraying should take place in the daytime as well as at night, to effectively target multiple species.

“This will be helpful for us going forward,” he said.

Cooney, who used to work with the CDC in efforts to eradicate concerning species of mosquitos and has also worked with the World Health Organization in efforts for mosquito populations management, joined with Grissom in urging residents to eliminate places of standing water, like buckets and old tires, where mosquito breeding can occur.

“We’re creating health concerns right on our own properties by allowing these things to exist,” Cooney said. He recommended moving trouble items to locations where they won’t retain water or creating some way for the water to drain.

pointed out the resilience of mosquitos

Pace said the city is ahead of the game, with its focus on spraying. “We’re simply here trying to help them go in the right direction,” he added.