by Mykaela A. Jones
Everyone in Kremmling agrees that mosquitoes are the worst. Each summer is a constant battle for the townsfolk as they put on bug spray, hang up bug lights, bug repelling candles, and cover up with thick clothing in the warm summer weather. Yet sometimes it still feels like even that is not enough.
In recent years, Kremmling has taken the approach of aerial spray for the pests, which allows the people of Kremmling more time to enjoy the outdoors. These sprays usually take place during the festival seasons, such as Kremmling Days and the Fourth of July. As the summer approaches, Kremmling’s town council has decided to work with Vectoer Disease Control International LLC (VDCI), in order to apply more aggressive forms of pest control for mosquitos.
Kremmling Town Manager Daniel Stoltman has been in contact with VDCI for several weeks, and shared information which was given to him by one of the LLC’s representatives.
“I spoke with one of the representatives recently. He said that what they use is safe, and according to the Center for Disese Control (CDC) it’s safe. It all seems to be safe from what I see, but as I am not an expert I cannot give a definitive answer.”
When asked about the schedule for the work that VDCI will be doing for the summer season, he stated, “This year, from what I understand, they were going to do more larvicide. They’ll be up here weekly, taking traps and samples, testing to see if mosquitoes are hatching in the water. They are going to do spraying most likely on Kremmling Days, and maybe the Fourth of July, depending on how bad it is. So potentially we’ll see two aerials, larviciding, and two spray trucks.”
Town Councilman, Erik Woog, has been passionate about the topic of mosquito control in Kremmling for many years, and is hopeful that the budget and new pest control tactic will help the people of Kremmling enjoy “a greater relief,” while also being more sensible with the money being used to help the effort.
“About nine years ago, when I was formerly on the board, I had suggested that we consider the formation of a mosquito control district. At that point it may have been too progressive, but I continued making contacts with some of the parties involved in it. When I got involved with the board again recently, I took that a little bit farther and reached out to entities like the CRWCD (Colorado River Water Conservation District), and the consolidated Grand River Owners”
“Dave Sammons was involved in this process to look at and consider what we were doing, to have a slightly more cooperative approach to help defer costs, and to have a focused effort on everyone being in the same direction.”
Woog also mentioned that there has been volunteer participation from some of the parties, both monetarily and with sharing information. This has been useful, as it has helped those in charge of mosquito control to study breeding areas, species, and breeding patterns.
In regards to the cost of this effort, he stated, “The effort is to get the townspeople and landowner’s money to go farther, and ultimately to improve the situation by reducing the population of these insects. It may sound ridiculous, but research shows if you can get a proper treatment strategy in place including larvicide and aerial spraying, you can affect the total population of the insect in the region. Treating the symptom rather than the disease is sort of the direction we have taken historically. With respect to the aerial sprayings, they offer short term relief but literally treat the symptom making no provision for long term to reduce the breeding cycles and reduce the population.”
One of the biggest concerns people have had about the new pest control methods was how it would affect the wildlife and the health of the people of the town. Woog said, “With the exception of barn swallows and bats who feed on mosquitoes, there is not a significant effect biologically. I believe that the methods used now are much safer than what was used decades ago. Let’s not forget that things like DDT and even diesel fuel were used. Now they are using different techniques including compounds that are known to be much safer for both human and wildlife contact. Consider that mosquitoes have been responsible for the death of more human beings than any treatment ever has. They spread diseases, so the outcome could be a lot worse. The treatment is a lot safer now than it has ever been.”
In speaking with town councilman Dave Sammons about the larvicide treatments and their effects on the environment, he says that the treatments are not going to affect the environment in any negative way. He stated, “The larvicide is direct contact to the larvae, and not the outside world. Larvicide is pretty specific in the fact of what species it affects.”
Sammons also mentions that one of the many upsides to this new pest control, which has been primarily applied in Gunnison, Colorado, will be that the money being spent on the control methods will be spent the right way. He says, “With the money that we spent [in the past], we were lucky if we got 8 or 10 days of mosquito control. Now we are trying to get more control on the mosquitoes, to make outdoor living in Kremmling more enjoyable.”
While new ways of fixing issues for the betterment of a community can seem daunting, the partnership that the town of Kremmling has with Vector seems to show a long list of pros. Hopefully this year the townspeople will have a summer with more time outdoors and less worry about mosquitoes.
by Mykaela A. Jones