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Salisbury opting out of mosquito-spraying program

Published: May. 26, 2021 at 6:22 PM EDT|Updated: May. 27, 2021 at 5:03 AM EDT
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SALISBURY, Vt. (WCAX) - The Addison County town of Salisbury voted earlier this year to opt-out of a pesticide-spraying program to help control mosquitoes. It comes after a report concluded the spraying is harming endangered bat species that prey on the mosquitoes. But some local businesses -- and the other towns in the spraying district -- aren’t on board.

“Last summer was great, but this summer -- it’s the end of May right now and it’s already getting really bad,” said Gary Grimes, who rents his Lake Dunmore house through Airbnb. He’s worried if the town doesn’t spray and the mosquitoes are bad, people will cancel their reservation for this summer or not book with him again. “When they come back this summer, they’re not going to be as happy. Even just sitting out on this porch for 15 minutes, they aren’t going to be happy.”

Grimes bought bug zappers and a bracelet that is supposed to repel bugs. He has also started making his own home remedies to try to keep the mosquitoes away, with ingredients including beer, Epsom salts, mouth wash, brown sugar, and yeast.

Salisbury is experimenting with a halt to mosquito spraying this summer.
Salisbury is experimenting with a halt to mosquito spraying this summer.(WCAX)

Lake Dunmore is located in the towns of Leicester and Salisbury. Leicester is still taking part in pesticide spraying. So will it have an impact if only a portion of the area is being sprayed? “That’s something that we are kind of sitting on the sidelines and watching. We really don’t know the impact,” said Jeff Schumann, president of the Lake Dunmore Fern Lake Association.

Even with the relatively dry spring, it’s clear mosquito season is underway in the area. Patti Casey, an environmental surveillance program manager with the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, says they begin monitoring mosquitoes in mid-June. “I did hear -- just anecdotally from some of the folks over in the mosquito districts -- that they were not finding a lot of larvae,” she said.

Brandon, Goshen, and Pittsford are also part of the Brandon-Leicester-Salisbury-Goshen Insect Control District. It was created in 1978 and the towns and the state share the cost of spraying to cut down on bugs. Brandon Town Manager David Atherton says they will continue to spray. “It’s unbearable. There are just so many mosquitoes you can’t enjoy being outdoors,” he said.

Salisbury is still part of the spraying program until June 30th, but no one could tell us if the town has been sprayed yet this year.

“It’s just going to ruin their time, not getting sprayed this summer. I really feel it coming already,” Grimes said.

Patti Casey says residents in the area have to find a balance between using pesticides and the quality of living for humans and animals.

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