July 25, 2024

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) – The Sioux Falls Mosquito Control Program began spraying targeted areas around the city last week. Determining where to spray is a fairly involved process.

“We’ve broken it up into 18 zones, and then each zone has at least one trap in it, and the traps are run Monday through Thursday. So Monday morning, they turn them on, and then they collect whatever’s in them Tuesday through Friday. The contents of the trap are brought back here to the lab, put in the freezer, and the lab staff pulls it out of the freezer the following day. Then they count each and every mosquito that is in that trap, and then they identify them down to the genus and species, so they know exactly which type of mosquito is in there. Based on the number of potential disease-carrying mosquitoes, that will trigger whether we need to spray or not,” said Dominic Miller, environmental health manager for the City of Sioux Falls.

The spraying begins in the evening and can run late into the night.

“One of the benefits of the program is we know that mosquitoes are most active at dusk, and that’s when things like bees and butterflies — they’re least active at that time, so it can do some harm to those insects, but the program is set up to recognize that, and we also know the characteristics of the mosquitoes, that they’re going to become more active when the beneficial insects are tucking away for the night,” said Miller.

The spray itself is a mixture containing mostly water.

“In general, it’s a pickup sprayer. It’s called a ULV sprayer, which is for ultra-low volume, so it’s very little actual chemical product. It’s 99.99% water,” said Miller.

So far this season, the Sioux Falls Environmental Health Department is not seeing anything unusual with the mosquito population.

“I would say talking to the staff, comparing it historically, the amount of precipitation we’ve had this year compared to other years, we’re about right on track with what we expected to see in our traps. We are seeing good numbers of what we consider nuisance mosquitoes. We are starting to see some of those mosquitoes that will carry disease. We do specific testing on those mosquitoes that could carry disease and see if they’re actually carrying West Nile, and so far we haven’t had any positive tests on that,” said Miller.

To stay up to date on where spraying will occur, text SPRAY to 888-777.

More information about the Sioux Falls Mosquito Control Program can be found here.

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