Management program in place for perennial virus

Take that, you pesky skeeters.

In an effort to keep Connecticut residents from contracting West Nile Encephalitis through contact with mosquitoes, state lawmakers recently voted in a bill that directs $500,000 in mosquito larvicide to 41 shoreline communities to help in their seasonal battle with mosquitoes. Mosquitoes are known carriers of the West Nile Encephalitis. Orange and Woodbridge will be receiving a portion of the funds

The type of larvacide used has yet to be determined local officials say.

Orange First Selectman Mitchell Goldblatt said Orange will likely take advantage of the larvacide purchased by the state. He said communities can purchase from a bulk order the state will be making.

Lou Zullo, Administrative Officer for the Town of Woodbridge wants to wait and see what the experts say at a meeting to be held on April 11.

Zullo is hoping that some direction will be forthcoming from the state on what the best strategy for placement of the larvacide will be suggested. He does anticipate that catch basins will be recommended.

Although Bethany will not be receiving any of the $500,000 for mosquito management First Selectman Craig Stahl has already had preliminary discussions with Tree Warden Ray Panntalone who is authorized to handle insecticides and is familiar with them.

Stahl said Bethany will most likely go with the ‘dunk' variety which rests on the surface of water.

Stahl also said that he wants to wait and hear what the state recommends at the April meeting.

Zullo cautions that the larvaciding will only help to control the problem, that it is not a ‘quick fix'.

"It will reduce the potential danger but won't eliminate the problem," Zullo said.

But with the threat of the deadly mosquito-born viruses on the horizon, officials stress that there's only so much a state or a town can do for its residents. The rest, they says, is up to residents.

According to a report provided by the Connecticut Experiment Station effective control of mosquitoes begins with removal or treatment of breeding places lessening but not eliminating the need for other measurers to give protection from biting. These treatments or removal procedures will decrease the number of mosquitoes lessening the nuisance.

In many circumstances, stagnant water can be managed. In salt marshes, ditching and draining puts water into ditches where fish can eat the larvae. In woodland settings, before foliage appears areas around the home should be carefully examined for temporary pools and around swampy places. Rain barrels and cisterns should be covered with screen.

Mosquito eggs can be laid in many different containers such as tubs, wheelbarrows, tin cans and old tires. Trunks of old trees where rain water collects is a favorite location.

According to the Connecticut Experimental Station rural areas require special attention. In marshy pastures for instance, mosquitoes can produce more than six million larvae per acre.

In June, the state will also distribute $1 million in funds designed to bolster Connecticut's mosquito management program statew