TRUMBULL COUNTY Officials aim to zap problem by poisoning mosquito larvae
Attacking larvae is more effective than aerial spraying for the adult insects, officials say.
By STEPHEN SIFF
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
WARREN -- With mosquito season near its peak, Trumbull County commissioners are considering options to squash the bugs, which can carry the potentially deadly West Nile virus.
"We have to be progressive," said Commissioner Joseph Angelo Jr. "There is no way of escaping West Nile virus."
County commissioners will make an emergency transfer of $10,000 to the health department to buy anti-mosquito larva poison, to be dropped in potential breeding pools, Commissioner Michael O'Brien said.
County workers from outside the health department may be drafted to disseminate the stuff to stagnant ponds and ditches while they make their rounds on other business, he said.
Commissioners have not determined from which account the money to buy mosquito poison might be taken. Only about three weeks remain before mosquito season is cooled by September nights.
The health department has been receiving hundreds of calls a day from people worried about the disease since pools of mosquitos carrying West Nile were identified in Champion and Bazetta last weeks.
"People are concerned," said Frank Migliozzi, director of environmental health. "We need to do everything in our power to combat this."
Deaths in Ohio
At least one Ohio death has been linked to West Nile this summer. The disease primarily infects people over age 50 or with compromised immune systems.
Many of the calls to the health department are complaints about neighbors who are harboring mosquito breeding spots on their properties, Migliozzi said.
The health department has jurisdiction over all of Trumbull County except the cities of Niles, Girard and Warren.
The department has the authority to require people to get rid of old tires, unused swimming pools or containers that can collect water and provide mosquitoes a place to breed, Migliozzi said.
The health department has been responding to this kind of complaint with orders to clean up within seven days, he said. At a meeting Tuesday, O'Brien suggested the number of days be reduced to two.
The department's authority does not cover natural wetlands or waterways, or even farm ponds, although these are all places mosquitoes can breed.
An early start
O'Brien said he would like to see health department workers not only respond to complaints, but also attack mosquito breeding grounds before complaints arrive.
Dispensing anti-larval briquettes into all possible breeding grounds would be a monumental undertaking, he said.
Road crews from the county engineer's department and servers from the Child Support Enforcement Agency might also be able to dispense the larva poison, O'Brien said.
Attacking mosquitoes while they are still in a larval state is more effective than spraying for adults, Migliozzi said.
Several townships and communities have their own spraying programs.
Residents are advised to wear long sleeves in the evening and to use insect repellent to reduce the chances of mosquito bites.