EPA Regulations Won’t Cause Problems for Huntsville’s Mosquito Control

May 15th, 2012

EPA Regulations Won’t Cause Problems for Huntsville’s Mosquito Control

HUNTSVILLE, AL – State and federal agencies have changed the regulations for mosquito control, but Huntsville officials don’t expect them to bug you this summer.

The new regulations from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Alabama Department of Environmental Management require a lot more documentation and testing of areas to make sure the treatments are necessary and killing mosquitoes, said Cheryl Edge Clay, public health environmentalist who works with the city’s Vector Control.

She said the new regulations went into effect in October and won’t interrupt any services for city residents. The regulations required a permit by April 30 for cities that spray over 5,400 acres a year; Vector Control treats more than 128,000 acres in the city.

Richard Grace, the Madison County engineer, said county commissioners are aware of the new regulations from t regulations and making sure they comply. Each county commissioner takes care of his district’s needs for mosquito control outside the city, Grace said.

Clay had to put together a detailed pesticide discharge management plan that describes mosquito problems and what, if any, impact the spraying would have on the environment.

“The biggest change is, there will be a lot more documentation, requirement of data and followup inspections,” Clay said. “This summer we don’t expect to interrupt services with the new monitoring program. Residents can expect the same quality service as we’ve had in the past.

“We may not spray every Monday or Tuesday night. We’re going to spray where we can be most effective.”

Clay said Vector Control will begin using its mosquito fogging trucks — carrying a truck-mounted sprayer that shoots ultra low volume mist, she said — the first week of June. Currently, Vector Control is targeting the mosquitos larvae in swamps and other areas they are known to habitat with biological larvacide, which is much more environmentally friendly.

Clay says the city uses a non-toxic, low concentration chemical when it sprays at night. It also uses a non-toxic spray for the biological larvacide and even uses tiny mosquito fish, which they stock in ditches where mosquitoes are a problem.

Vector Control is asking beekeepers to call the office so the trucks can avoid spraying in their areas.

Clay said it’s not possible to visit every home in the city, so it helps if the public can to minimize areas that hold stagnant water. “Even a teaspoon of water can breed mosquitos,” Clay said.

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The city’s Vector Control deals with mosquito control and encourages all residents to minimize areas that can hold stagnant water, such as old tires, bird baths, flower pots, pet water bowls, and poorly maintained fountains, gutters, and swimming pools. If you are a beekeeper in or near Huntsville, call 256-883-5872 so your area can be avoided until after sunset during fogging season.

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