Friday, July 31, 2009
DNREC Press Release
DOVER – DNREC Secretary Collin O’Mara announced today he has initiated cross training and other measures within the Division of Fish and Wildlife to help the Division’s Mosquito Control Section respond to an abnormally large recent outbreak of woodland-pool and other freshwater mosquitoes during a time when recent retirements and transfers have left the section downsized with several vacancies.
Recent heavy rains during the past two months triggered the large outbreak of mosquitoes which in turn led to more than 2500 complaints from the public seeking mosquito relief and control services from early May through early July. Historically, the annual average total statewide for all five months from May to September is about 2100 complaints.
To bolster the Mosquito Control Section staff, one division employee will be transferred to the section while other non-Mosquito Control staff will be cross-trained to enable them to operate (when requested) in relief mode truck-mounted sprayers (“foggers”) for adult mosquito control.
“These personnel moves will enable Mosquito Control to continue to deliver their frontline services important for the public’s comfort and well-being and for protecting public health from mosquito-borne diseases,” said O’Mara. “During times of decreasing resources for operating state government, this is an example of how we’ll try to maximize efficiencies across agency lines while continuing to deliver core public services.”
According to Division Director Patrick Emory, the “foggers” must be operated by qualified staff to achieve both the desired control results and avoid any unintended collateral impacts.
“The additional staff and cross training will help to address times of high mosquito outbreaks that require the section’s frequent ‘fog runs’ in cities, towns, suburbs, subdivisions or other populated areas, along with treating more rural sites,” said Emory. “Fog runs” typically begin in the evening around dusk and often last until midnight or later, or sometimes in the early morning from just before dawn up until about an hour after sunrise.