07/01/07 — City takes steps to combat mosquitoes

View Archive

City takes steps to combat mosquitoes

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on July 1, 2007 2:01 AM

You might see them early in the morning -- spraying down the trees and bushes on your block.

But Goldsboro's three-truck mosquito-prevention fleet has gotten a little help this year from the heat.

Chief Building Inspector Ed Cianfarra is used to getting calls about swarms of mosquitoes inside the city limits. One of his yearly charges is keeping them at bay.

The phone is not ringing quite as often these days, he said.

"The extreme heat we're dealing with right now, most mosquitoes don't fly in 90-degree weather," Cianfarra said.

It really happened over the winter, he added, when a lack of rain gave the insects fewer places to breed.

"The dry winter really saved us," Cianfarra said. "We didn't have many days when it was 20 degrees or lower to kill off the eggs, so we needed it to stay dry."

Most of the complaints this season have come from areas known for standing water and muggy conditions, he added.

"We're always receiving complaints from people living in and around the marshy areas," he said. "That won't really change."

But the rest of the city is catching a break from scratching -- even if the dry weather is causing other problems.

"Everything right now is fine as far as the mosquitoes go," Cianfarra said. "And if we continue to see dry weather, it will stay that way. But that's a no-win situation. If you don't have rain, you have drought."

So when the rain comes, as it did this weekend, crews should be ahead of the problem.

They cover the entire city in "about a week," spraying every day in the mornings and four days a week in the afternoon, dropping chemicals in standing water to kill eggs left to hatch.

The process will last until the $26,000 allocated by the City Council runs out, or until the first frost, which Cianfarra predicts will occur between early September and late November.

Just because the population of the insect is low now, does not ensure it will stay that way, he said.

"We won't stop," Cianfarra said. "In order to ensure the mosquitoes are kept at bay, we need to continue to do what we're doing."