I would like to respond to Mr. Couch's letter in the July 30 Bradenton Herald.
First of all, I can sympathize with the mosquito problems that he faces because of his location on Erie Road, bounded by thick woods containing swamps and creeks, plus pastures nearby that flood frequently.
Mr. Couch's area was sprayed twice this month in response to his four service requests (received July 10, 17, 18 and 21), once by truck on July 10 and then by helicopter on July 23. As well as covering the majority of Parrish on July 23 (25-plus square miles); the pilot also specifically targeted spray runs over several heavily wooded hammocks known to be mosquito harboring areas, including those surrounding Mr. Couch's property.
Unfortunately our spraying is only temporary in nature, killing those mosquitoes that are actively flying at the time of application
If we spray too early, when there are high populations of mosquito larvae still in the water, our knockdown of the adult mosquito population will be very short-lived.
We also need to time our sprays to be most effective, based on "good meteorology" for both high mosquito activity and movement of the spray from the helicopter through the target area. This is the reason for delays/uncertainty on when we might be treating an area.
Mosquito population increases are driven by rainfall patterns, and Mr. Couch is right in that we use a network of traps throughout the county to monitor mosquito population levels, with justification for spraying being based on local weekly trap catches being above the 10-year average for that particular trap site. Of course, the presence of mosquito-borne diseases (such as West Nile Virus) lowers that level for justification.
The district will continue to provide a science-based mosquito control service to the citizens of Manatee County, striving to balance the need to reduce mosquito populations while minimizing pesticide applications to the overall environment.
Director, Manatee County Mosquito Control District