By Terry Lehrke, News Editor
Residents in the city of Pierz can expect a bit of a reprieve from mosquitoes, as the City Council voted to start spraying for the pests.
“We’ve been looking at it for a couple of years,” Mayor Toby Egan said at Monday’s meeting. “I have never see mosquitoes as bad as this year.”
Public Works Supervisor Bob Otremba looked at quotes for the service. Clarke Environmental Mosquito Management in Clearwater, the company which sprays for mosquitoes in Royalton, uses a pickup with a machine on the back that sprays 150-feet on each side of the street. The spraying is done between 9 p.m. and midnight.
Otremba said the company recommended spraying every other week, as the spray kills adult mosquitoes only. If it’s been raining, he said, the company recommends spraying every week.
On an every other week schedule, each treatment costs $565 plus tax. If the city were to go with an every-week schedule, the cost would be $508, plus tax.
Otremba said the season runs from Memorial Day to Labor Day, leaving four treatment cycles for this year.
City Administrator Anna Gruber said she contacted the city of Royalton and learned the treatment works in Royalton. “You have to be consistent and can’t have spot-spraying,” said Gruber.
To pay for the service, Gruber said Royalton adds $1 to residents’ utility bills.
Pierz resident Lorae Vardas asked about health issues.
Gruber said Royalton reported no health complaints, and said residents didn’t complain because it was nice not to have to deal with mosquitoes.
Otremba said the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) rated the product “1” on a health scale of 0 – 5.
Council Member Stephanie Fyten, a nurse, said controlling the mosquitoes was a health issue.
“Mosquitoes can cause West Nile Virus and encephalitis,” she said. “It’s a health concern for residents, not just the fact that you get eaten alive.”
The treatment will be done on 12 miles of road, said Otremba, including three miles at the golf course. He said the spraying would be done Wednesday evenings.
Egan said he’d like to get the service started as soon as possible. At the end of the season, the Council will evaluate how well the spraying worked.
The scheduled sprayings will begin this week, and continue Wednesdays, July 31, Aug. 14 and 28.
As far as the monthly fee on utility bills, the residents will be asked for feedback.
Resident Harold Meyer said he felt a $1 monthly fee was reasonable, since a can of bug spray costs more than that.
Vardas said she’d never seen mosquitoes swarm like they were this year.
Meyer asked that residents be reminded to empty any containers holding water, as mosquitoes tend to lay their eggs in stagnant water.
For more information, contact Pierz City Hall at (320) 468-6471.
Heavy spring rains mean more mosquitoes
The University of Minnesota (U of M) Extension office reports mosquitoes are especially abundant this summer because of heavy rainfall and increased moisture in the environment.
U of M entomologist Jeff Hahn said mosquito larvae live in small pools of water and increases in rainfall lead to more mosquito breeding grounds.
Although rain cannot be controlled, steps Minnesotans can take to combat mosquitoes include:
• Avoid being outside in the early morning and evening hours when mosquitoes are at high levels;
• Drain small child pools, clogged gutters or anything that collects water that allow a place for mosquitoes to breed;
• Put a thin layer of vegetable oil on water that cannot be drained (like rain buckets and bird baths) to suffocate the larvae and stop mosquito breeding and keep weeds and grasses from getting tall; and
• When outside use repellant on skin or wear long sleeved shirts and pants as protection.
Mosquitoes can carry diseases like West Nile virus, which increased nationally and in Minnesota last year, Hahn said in an Extension report. Last year, there were 70 cases of the virus in the state, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.
For more information on mosquitoes and other insects in Minnesota, visit the Extension’s website at www.exten sion.umn.edu/insects.
Pierz City Council Briefs
During its Monday meeting, the Pierz City Council also:
• Observed a moment of silence in honor of City Treasurer Maureen Watercott, who passed away June 25;
• Tabled a decision on a mutual aid agreement between the city and the Rich Prairie Sewer and Water District regarding the sharing of labor and/or equipment until after the two entities were able to meet to discuss the issue;
• Approved a revision to the Rules of Behavior sign in the Pierz Public Library to include a rule that states, “No pets or animals other than service animals are allowed in the library;”
• Approved a payment of $222,344.13 to C and L Excavating Inc. for work done so far on the Robert Street/Park Avenue Project. City Engineer Scott Hedlund said the project was “moving right along” with paving possible the first week of August;
• Approved insulating city hall at a cost of $2,900 and the adjoining Senior Center at a cost of $1,700 to conserve energy. Public Works Supervisor Bob Otremba said LB Insulating would insulate the 16 inches above the ceiling;
• Heard Police Chief Eric Hanneken report Freedom Fest in Pierz went well with no big problems;
• Heard Golf Course Superintendent and Parks Supervisor Daniel Baert report all the camping sites were used over the holiday weekend. Baert said he would like to look into prices of crushed rock of some sort to stabilize the ground around the campsites during rainy periods; and
• Approved gambling permits for Holy Trinity events for Oct. 12, Dec. 23 and March 9, 2014, as well as the Lions Club for Aug. 25, during Oktoberfest.
The Council will meet Monday, at 5:30 p.m. to discuss the budget. Its next regular meeting is Monday, July 22, at 7 p.m. at City Hall.