City adopts new approach to mosquito control

GREENFIELD — City officials plan two rounds of mosquito fogging this summer to control the pesky insects.

Each year, the city of Greenfield uses larvacide or pesticide to control mosquito-breeding and bites. Typically, the street department uses briquettes, hockey puck-shaped larvacide placed in the city’s sewers, and employees also fog.

This year, instead of using briquettes, city officials are choosing to use the fogging machine, which sprays pesticide to kill mosquitoes, twice throughout the city.

Tyler Rankins, street commissioner, said using briquettes is more expensive than fogging, and he hopes fogging will be more effective in eradicating mosquitoes.

Purchasing the materials needed for mosquito control cost the city about $4,200 this year. Fogging is about $800 cheaper than briquettes.

The city likely will start fogging during the evening hours the week after Fourth of July, and it likely will take a month to get through the whole city, Rankins said. Then the department will start the second round.

In order to fog, weather conditions have to be close to perfect, he said, which prolongs the process.

Wind must be less than 5 mph, and there can be no chance of rain, he said. July is a good time for fogging because it’s typically a drier month.

Rankins said he doesn’t want residents to be concerned about fogging. People think it’s harmful to them or their pets, he said, but that isn’t the case.

“When I was a kid, you’d see the truck come down the street, and it seemed like a white fog covered everything,” he said. “Fogging is not the same as it was in the ’80s and ’90s.”

Now the chemicals used in the pesticide are safer for the environment, people and pets, he said.

“There’s absolutely zero concern,” he said. “You could walk behind the truck and be fine. You don’t have to run.”

The city works to control mosquito-breeding to protect residents, he said.

Besides being irritating, the insects can spread disease, he said.

While last year, there was only one reported case of West Nile virus in Hancock County, according to the Indiana State Department of Health, officials want to be proactive, Rankins said.

“The more mosquitoes we can eradicate, the less disease,” he said.

The county’s highway department, however, does not do anything to control mosquitoes.

Randy Moore, superintendent of the Hancock County Highway Department, said it’s been that way for at least 30 years.

Residents, however, can protect their families from mosquitoes.

According to the department of entomology at Purdue Extension, mosquitoes always develop in water. Homeowners can prevent mosquito-breeding by keeping the grass on their properties cut short and eliminating standing water, such as gutters and buckets.

Common breeding places are floodwaters, woodland pools, slow-moving streams and ditches.

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Samm Quinn is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3275 or