Aerial spraying begins Oct. 2 in Trowbridge, Gun Plain to suppress virus
UPDATE (6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 2): According to the Allegan County Health Department, the evening spraying was postponed due to inclement weather. The department did not announce when the insecticide application would occur.
Two areas in Allegan County are slated for aerial spraying to kill mosquitoes tonight (Wednesday, Oct. 2).
The spray is part of the state’s effort to suppress the spread of the mosquito-borne virus eastern equine encephalitis.
Spraying will begin at dusk and conclude by 4:30a.m. on Oct. 3. All aerial spraying is weather-dependent.
The two areas include a section of Trowbridge Township—following Allegan County’s first confirmed case in a deer—as well as the only other area east of Plainwell, near Lake Doster.
The Allegan County Health Department announced the spray time Wednesday, Oct. 2, after The Allegan County News and Union Enterprise went to press.
The state intends to update www.Michigan.gov/EEE each morning with any new information on the spread of the rare but deadly virus that has infected nine people—killing three—in Barry, Berrien, Calhoun, Cass, Kalamazoo and Van Buren counties.
The health department said the spray uses a product called “Merus 3.0,” an organic botanical adult mosquito insecticide containing 5 percent pyrethrins.
A health department press release said, “Pyrethrins are naturally found in chrysanthemum flowers. Merus 3.0 can be used around organic crops and gardens.”
According to The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, pyrethrins are commonly used to control mosquitoes, fleas, flies, moths, ants and other pests and have been registered for use in pesticides since the 1950s.
Local health officials said that, in general, health risks are not expected during or after spraying, noting the application dosage would be 1 tablespoon used over an area the size of a football field.
“No special precautions are recommended; however, residents and individuals who have known sensitivities to pyrethrins can reduce potential exposure by staying indoors during spraying. Aerial spraying is not expected to have any impacts on surface water or drinking water.”
Despite that, they said Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development rules allowed individuals to voluntarily opt out of the application. To opt out, however, the state needs to be notified at least 48 hours in advance of the spraying.
For those in Allegan County who have already sent an email with their name and full residential address to email@example.com, an area of 1,000 by 1,000 feet would not be sprayed around the residence.
The state announced the opt-out procedure Friday, Sept. 27, at 2:30 p.m. Individuals would have had to notify the state by Monday, Sept. 30, by 8 p.m. to opt out.
The two areas in Allegan County scheduled for aerial spraying are in the southeast area of Trowbridge Township, where a confirmed deer case was found, and the southeast area of Gun Plain Township, within a 2.5-mile radius of a separate, confirmed deer case in Barry County.
Spraying will be done overnight.
A department press release said, “Aerial spraying is conducted by low-flying aircraft, beginning in the early evening and continuing up until 4:30 a.m. the next morning, in areas of concern. Mosquito control professionals will apply approved pesticides as an ultra-low volume spray. ULV sprayers dispense very fine aerosol droplets that stay suspended in the air and kill adult mosquitoes on contact. This is a tactic other states, including Massachusetts and Rhode Island, have recently employed to combat EEE.”
The nighttime spraying is timed for when mosquitos are more active, fish are less likely to be at the surface feeding and honeybees are most likely to be in their hives.
The state health department said, “Owners should cover small ornamental fishponds during the night of spraying. While it is not necessary to bring animals indoors during spraying, concerned pet owners can bring animals inside during spraying.
For more information, visit www.Michigan.gov/EEE.
Contact Ryan Lewis at firstname.lastname@example.org or (269) 673-5534.