City of Lander Weed & Pest
August 2013 Report
Well, the season is slowly coming to a close as we round the bases in the middle of August. Although it was my intention to give a monthly report to the citizens of Lander concerning the progress and development of the Weed and Pest program this season, I was unable to fulfill that desire. The sole reason for this has been the incredibly busy season that my department has had. That said, as things begin to slow down now for the next week (until the spraying of Leafy Spurge picks up again) I find myself with a little bit of time to write a quick report concerning what we have done this season and what can be expected for the rest of the season.
This season has been a mixed bag when it comes to the control of noxious weeds. Due to the drought last year, most of the serious threats to our local ecosystem (Leafy Spurge especially) grew rapidly and in abundance this year. With the influx of noxious weeds, my crew and I had a very hard time knocking the plants down before they were able to go to seed and revitalize the already soaring populations of noxious weeds. I will say that we did get most of it here in town, with the exception of a few areas. Although the herbicide that we used on Leafy Spurge is for top growth suppression only, it goes a long way in solving the problem permanently.
There have been many questions this month, expressed on both the County10.com and The City of Lander Facebook pages, which pertain to West Nile Disease and the adulticiding schedule. In early July (around July 15) West Nile Disease was detected in our traps at a very high level of prevalence and incubation. This necessitated that the adulticiding program become a public health service instead of a nuisance service, which in turn necessitated that the “No-Spray Requests” be ignored for the time being in order to assure the safety of the citizens of Lander. For those who would wonder how high the RAMP (West Nile Test) reading would have to be to send Lander into a Public health mode of adulticiding, the answer is between 50 and 100 on the RAMP Test. The readings we were receiving on the RAMP Test well exceeded this threshold by a figure of 640 or greater. As most of you know, the City of Lander is using a new chemical (Zenivex) in place of the old chemical Malathion. There have been some who have asked if we might go back to Malathion on account of the mosquitos being so bad this year. The truth is that Malathion does not work better than Zenivex. All of the trap tests of the chemical Zenivex have indicated a quick and efficient knockdown of mosquitos in the area. The appearance that the chemical is not working is due to the fact that the mosquitos and bugs in general are worse this year than in years past. Again, this is due to the drought stress last summer.
Furthermore, this new chemical Zenivex has had the unforeseen effect of swelling the rubber seals on the ULV (Ultra-Low Volume) sprayer valves. This is a recurring problem that has taken me a month to really figure out and fix. Thus, in the last month there were three or so weeks in which spraying was not done, not out of some executive decision, but rather due to this problem with the ULV valves. Again, that problem is fixed and there is no expected opposition to the regular adulticiding schedule for the remainder of the summer.
Another popular question in social media this summer has been about what will determine the cessation of adulticiding at the end of the season. I would like to make it clear that if the level of West Nile Virus should decrease significantly and reliably, then the “No-Spray Requests” will once more be honored. The Spraying itself will stop once the numbers in the traps every week should drop below our spraying threshold of 15 or 20 mosquitos per trap or the first killing frost. My crew and I continue to vigorously larvacide and hunt mosquito habitat in the hopes of bringing those mosquito numbers back down to manageable levels.
I would really like to encourage people to continue to be vigilant in avoiding contact with mosquitos. Remember the “Five D’s” (Dusk, Dawn, Deet, Dress, and Drain). Also, if there are any questions please give me a call or shoot me an E-mail. I would love to answer your questions and continue the ongoing dialogue concerning these issues.