TREASURE VALLEY, Idaho — Some area residents are voicing concern about aerial pesticide use over their homes. The Ada County Mosquito Abatement District announced a mosquito control application scheduled for Thursday evening last week.
The director of the Ada County Weed, Pest and Mosquito Abatement District, Adam Schroeder, said the amount of West Nile Virus being detected in the mosquito trap locations has gone from zero to 70 cases in the last two and a half weeks.
“We’ve tried our normal operations and it’s not working to effectively control those mosquito populations so we’re taking the next logical step,” he said.
The pesticide Dibrom has been approved by the Environmental Protection Agency for use to control mosquitos in high-density urban areas and is used across the country.
“Because basically it targets mosquitoes and has very minimal persistence in the environment,” Schroeder said.
But some people have been voicing concern about the safety of Dibrom. Schroeder said many people look at the safety data sheet for the pesticide, which shows hazard information for Dibrom concentrate, but he said the amount used in the aerial application is roughly one-half of a shot glass spread over the area of a football field.
Others have wondered how this might affect produce in backyard gardens. Schroeder said Dibrom dissipates quickly, but people should still wash their produce as normal.
“Three or four hours after the application that product is undetectable and then once the sunlight hits it we really will not see any trace of that product from that point on,” he said.
Jacki Cook said her biggest concern is that individual households can’t opt-out of this.
“The thing that’s bothering me is that we just aren’t given a choice about this. I would like to have a choice about what kind of chemicals get sprayed on my property, over my animals,” she said.
Schroeder said they take these concerns seriously, but they also take seriously their responsibility to control mosquito populations with diseases like West Nile Virus.
“We have to weigh those with the risks that we’re facing right now in exponential presence of disease within mosquito populations,” he said.
The aerial application is scheduled to take place in the areas highlighted in blue below between 8:30 p.m. and midnight Thursday evening.
You can the answers to frequently asked questions about aerial applications by clicking here.