Vt. launches aerial assault on mosquitoes - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Vt. launches aerial assault on mosquitoes

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NORTH CLARENDON, Vt. -

"We are very concerned," said Cary Giguere of the Vt. Agriculture Agency.

It's something the Vt. Agriculture Agency has never done before-- try to kill off a significant portion of the adult mosquito population.

"It's horrible to see human deaths, especially when you can't see them. You're not expecting to die from a mosquito," Giguere said.

Richard Breen, 87, of Brandon, died from Eastern equine encephalitis and another Vermonter remains hospitalized in critical condition after being bitten by infected mosquitoes. The state spent $60,000 to contract a company from Virginia to spray what's called the "mosquito district," comprised of Brandon, Leicester, Salisbury and Goshen. These areas already spray on the ground with trucks on a regular basis. Giguere says the aerial insecticide is much more effective.

"Any mosquito that comes into contact with the insecticide will die," Giguere said.

"They said it wasn't a problem with humans or animals, so I don't see why they shouldn't spray," said Linda Ronk of Brandon.

But not everyone likes the notion of aerial spraying.

"If you don't want to be sprayed you have to get on a no fly list," said Hannah Davidson, an organic farmer.

So that's what farmer Hannah Davidson did to avoid losing her organic crop certification.

"If we go out and I notice mosquitoes then I'll apply bug spray, but I'm not an alarmist. I don't want to overreact either," Davidson said.

The Ag Agency maintains no crops or livestock are at risk with this pesticide. They've gone to extra lengths to protect the bee population as well.   

"We talked to local beekeepers," Giguere said. "They're seeing that the bees are covered or inside by 7:30."

Health officials say the pesticide does not pose any health risk to humans or animals, but to avoid contact with the spray, people in the targeted areas should stay inside from 8-11 p.m. Thursday.

Click here for more on EEE from the CDC.

More on EEE from the Vt. Health Department, including information on the aerial spraying and a map of the area.

Click here for more on EEE from the Vt. Agriculture Agency.

Related Stories:

Health officials ID first Vermonter to die from EEE

Vermonter dies of mosquito-borne illness

1 dead in Vt. of EEE; emergency spraying to begin

Vt. health commissioner on EEE

Tests confirm EEE in Vt emu

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