As the days grow longer and temperatures start to rise, so will the mosquito population.
The City of Tallassee announced in September it will no longer use mosquito spray to repel the insects. Mayor Johnny Hammock urges citizens to take personal precautions to protect against any mosquito-borne illnesses.
“When outdoors, people can use products like OFF! to protect against mosquitos,” Hammock said.
The decision to stop spraying for mosquitos came after a controversial Tallassee City Council meeting last year where citizens voiced their concerns about the practice and halting it.
“Several beekeepers, along with councilman (David) Stough, led the charge on that,” Hammock said. “The state got involved and said that we had to house the chemicals in a climate-controlled area and go by the recommendations on the label, which are to spray between 8 p.m. and 1 a.m., and the council voted to stop spraying because it was too much of a liability to have someone out spraying during that time.”
Stough said he is not against spraying for mosquitos “as long as it is done in a way that meets the state’s guidelines.”
According to Hammock, the city utilized a popular mosquito repellent, Mosquito Master 412, which has been used in the U.S. for more than 50 years.
According to the Mosquito Master 412 label, the pesticide is harmful to humans and animals if swallowed or absorbed through the skin. It is toxic to aquatic organisms including fish and aquatic invertebrates. The product is also highly toxic to bees exposed to direct treatment on blooming crops or weeds.
Hammock said the city will continue the use of larvicide in areas.
Hammock expressed concern about potential mosquito-borne illnesses. Last year, there was a new mosquito-borne illness called Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE). Officials in some states had to take extra precautions against EEE with dusk-to-dawn curfews and dispersing mosquito repellent via crop dusters. The virus is rare but can cause brain swelling and leads to death in about 30% of those who catch it, according to the Centers for Disease Control.