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City of Dickinson addresses mosquito fogging concerns

In a recent Facebook post the City of Dickinson announced the use of “non-harmful chemicals” aimed at ridding the city of mosquitoes — which have been more prevalent this year with the increased moisture.

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City of Dickinson Public Works Building.
Dickinson Press file photo
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DICKINSON — The City of Dickinson announced, via social media on Wednesday, a forthcoming mosquito control program aimed at reducing mosquito populations in the city through fogging.

The Facebook announcement generated a social media frenzy — much akin to the growing mosquito problems facing the Western Edge. The post attracted more than 170 reactions, 300 shares and dozens of comments in a span of only a few hours — many from residents expressing concerns about public safety and potential harm to bees.

Dickinson Public Works Buildings & Grounds Supervisor Lee Skabo addressed these and other concerns with The Dickinson Press in an effort to ease public concerns and dispel myths about the forthcoming efforts aimed at ‘knocking-down’ mosquito populations.

According to Skabo, the two chemicals used in their fogging insecticide include sumithrin and prallethrin. The product is called Duet Adulticide and is made by the Illinois based company Clarke Mosquito Control.

According to Clarke’s website, “The EPA has evaluated Duet and determined that using it according to label guidelines, in residential areas, including in and around gardens and over non-organic agricultural crop areas, does not pose a significant risk to people or animals. Duet has low mammalian toxicity.”

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Skabo confirmed that the spray is safe for pets and children to be outside during the fogging, but that the advisory in the notice issued by the city was intended to simply provide a precautionary measure opportunity.

“There's couple of reasons why we do it after sundown. The first one is, you know, bees and butterflies are not out flying anymore. So it's not going to affect them. And the other part is after dusk, that's when the mosquitoes are out flying and you get the best application rate,” he said. “This is just the first year we put that post out there to make people aware of what we're doing. But it's not a new practice. Like I said, we've been (fogging) for 15 years.”

The product’s safety data sheet states that people should avoid eye contact, skin contact and inhalation of the compound.

duet-msds by inforumdocs on Scribd

In compliance with the methodology of application instructions, the city will only fog on nights where weather permits which preclude the presence of rain, winds exceeding 10 miles per hour or temperatures below 50°F, Skabo said.

Detailing toxicity concerns, Skabo noted that the city will only be applying minimal amounts of the chemicals — far below the human toxicity levels.

“The amount that we apply is probably less than an ounce per acre. So it's very minimal what we're putting out there,” he said.

The efforts by the city to reduce mosquito populations is an effort mirrored in many municipalities across the United States, especially those in the south where summer monsoon rains foster rampant mosquito population growths.

While mosquito bites are not directly harmful, causing only irritable itchy affected areas of skin, their bites can carry more than just an itch. Mosquitoes are among the top spreaders of diseases, some of which can be fatal to humans and pets.

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, mosquitoes can carry a variety of viruses including Cache Valley, Chikungunya, Dengue, Eastern equine encephalitis, Jamestown Canyon, Japanese encephalitis, La Crosse encephalitis, Rift Valley fever, Ross River virus disease, St. Louis encephalitis, West Nile, Yellow fever and Zika.

In addition to the deadly viruses, mosquitoes can also carry parasites in the form of Dirofilariasis, Lymphatic filariasis and Malaria.

The North Dakota Department of Health reported the presence of West Nile Virus, a single-stranded RNA virus that causes West Nile fever, in eight counties in 2021.

Mosquito control activities in Dickinson are handled at the local level, through the city government. For more information about the ongoing mosquito fogging efforts, residents are invited to contact the Dickinson Public Works Department at 701-456-7979.

Other stories by Jason O'Day
During the regularly scheduled city commission meeting on Tuesday Dickinson leaders discussed police pensions, the Southwest CTE Academy and a zoning request.

Jason O’Day is a University of Iowa graduate, with Bachelor’s Degrees in Journalism and Political Science. Before moving to Dickinson in September of 2021, he was a general news reporter at the Creston News Advertiser in rural southwest Iowa. He was born and raised in Davenport, Iowa. With a passion for the outdoors and his Catholic faith, he’s loving life on the Western Edge.
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