City Council needs to re-visit mosquito policy

misquito-bite(1)Below is the (required 300 words or less) opinion article I submitted to the Daily Times Call, which was printed today 6/18/09 with their headline of : “You can avoid spray

An extended version of this was also printed in my column over at Examiner.com and ran as a link on Topix.com

I am a mosquito magnet, and so is one of my kids…so I was very attentive to the advice given during a conversation at a recent Boulder County Parks and Open Space meeting. The speaker was encouraging vigilance with mosquito repellent. She noted that we have received a lot of rain recently and temperatures will probably heat up, bringing out the mosquitoes and she was predicting that it’s going to be a “bad year”. I’ve heard stories from and know people affected by contracting West Nile virus from mosquito bites, so this was not good news.

Yet just last month, four of our Longmont City Council members (Hansen, McCoy, Benker and Levison) recommended changing our mosquito spraying policy and now will only do this when set traps in and around the city catch 100 or more mosquitoes showing positive testing for West Nile virus.

I’ve watched while some people in Longmont have voiced their concerns at council meetings about pesticides and how the fogging affects them. When fogging has occurred in the past, we get out of our hot tub and go inside. I have a garden alongside my fencing and should fogging occur, I will cover it up with plastic sheeting. Should my dog be outside during spraying, I will bring him in during this temporary spraying event. It’s not that difficult to avoid being “fogged.”

The City of Longmont often boasts about our outdoor spaces and our many parks. They also are offering many outdoor events this summer and need the income generated from citizens attending. There are millions of projected income dollars tied up in some of these events.

We live next to an open space that collects a lot of water every rainfall…let’s hope the mosquitoes are the only ones to have a bad year.