SIKESTON - The spraying operation for adult mosquitoes should begin sometime in May, according to Tom Bridger, public works director.
"It depends on the conditions and how bad the mosquito population is," Bridger said. With the manpower required and the mosquito spray costing $60-$65 per gallon, Bridger wants to make sure he is not wasting time and chemicals. He estimated it takes about 30 gallons to spray all of Sikeston. "It takes us three nights to do one complete coverage of the entire town."
This will be the third season for the city's ultra-low volume spray machine. "It's not like the smoky fog - more like a fine mist," said Bridger. He said the ULV sprayer is a big improvement over the louder, smellier foggers used previously.
"The new machine makes very small droplets you can't even feel unless you're directly behind the machine," said Bridger. "It's safer for use. You would have to stand at the rear of the truck (intentionally) inhaling the fumes to develop any problems."
Where available, the sprayer will run the alleys instead of the main streets.
The adulticide spray does not affect gardens, grass or pets, said Bridger. "Products they buy themselves off the shelves will have the same chemicals we utilize but a lot stronger," he said. "Ours is safer than those."
He also said the adulticide product used by the city now is an improvement over products used 10-12 years ago which attacked the mosquitoes' nervous system. "It put them in feeding frenzies before they died," said Bridger. "The products we use now don't."
Mosquito spraying will take place in the evenings, usually after 6 p.m. according to Bridger.
The sports complex is usually saved until last because of all the traffic. "It's easier to get through later in the evening," Bridger said.