Aerial Spraying Completed in Calhoun County
It took nearly two weeks, but aerial spraying to kill mosquitoes in Calhoun County is finally complete. The final two sections, rescheduled due to weather conditions, were done on Sunday night. They included a sizable area south of I-94, which included the Binder Park Zoo, where two Mexican Wolf pups died of EEE.
The state announced on September 27th that "Due to the large geographic distribution and number of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) cases in humans and animals, coupled with warm weather projections, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and 12 local health departments have decided to conduct aerial spraying in high risk areas to combat further spread of the deadly disease EEE."
It's nothing new from a world view, but for most of us in Calhoun County, mosquitos have suddenly gone from "pesky" to "deadly."
As of Sunday night, October 6th, spraying was completed in all 14 counties targeted, except for a small area scheduled to be sprayed on Monday night in Van Buren County, and the Kalamazoo area, where citizen concerns stopped spraying efforts before they got underway. Citizens were allowed to "opt out" with 48 hours notice to the state. Doing so would give a property owner a 1000 foot cushion from the spray.
The pesticide being used is Merus 3.0 which is an organic pesticide containing 5 percent pyrethrin. Pyrethrins are chemicals found naturally in some chrysanthemum flowers. They are a mixture of six chemicals that are toxic to insects. Despite reassurance by state officials that the spray was safe for animals and humans, many were uneasy about the spraying. Many opted out, and others tried to keep pets inside, and their windows shut. Older residents who don't commonly check internet web sites were kept in the dark, unless they heard reports on the radio or from a relative or neighbor. It was difficult for many to know if a scheduled area had actually been sprayed or not.
With spraying nearly complete, and colder temperatures, it's hoped that Michigan has turned the corner on the EEE threat, for now. Let's hope we all learned a thing or two for the next one.