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Mosquito spraying under way in Riverton

Jul 1, 2014 - By Katie Roenigk, Staff Writer

The City of Riverton began its seasonal mosquito mitigation program Monday evening.

The distinctive sound of the vehicle-mounted fogging machine will be heard on city streets 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. daily through September, according to city staff, who said they started spraying the insecticide malathion this week based on resident complaints and the local number of Culex tarsalis mosquitoes --the bug that carries West Nile virus.

The virus is a mosquito-borne disease that can cause a serious illness in humans, according to the Wyoming Department of Health. Mosquitoes spread the virus after they feed on infected birds and then bite people, other birds and animals.

Riverton lands division foreman Gregg Schaub said the city begins its spraying program once culex tarsalis mosquitoes are detected in the county. Often the first culex bug appears in May, but this year the initial observation came in late June.

"We got a report from the county yesterday," Schaub said Tuesday.

In 2013, the WDH confirmed 16 human cases of West Nile in Fremont County --the highest in the state.

Other affected counties only saw one or two human cases.

Almost 30 pools of mosquitoes tested positive for the virus in 2013 in Fremont County of 116 groups tested, according to the WDH. The next-highest number of positive mosquito pools was 16 in Goshen County, out of 138 groups tested.

One person in the state died of West Nile virus in 2013, in Park County.

Holiday weekend

The city will do double fogging duty on Thursday evening this week due to the Fourth of July holiday on Friday.

Schaub noted that the program does not kill all mosquitoes in the area. He warned residents to take precautions by wearing bug spray and long sleeved clothing.

The city also traps and plants killifish in various ponds to control mosquito larva and reduce the number of the bugs. In addition, larvicide pellets are used in storm drains, and larvicide briquettes are used in all areas not suitable for killifish.

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