Some residents have been objecting to the Wheatfield Town Board's decision to not do mosquito spraying this year, and are questioning Supervisor Bob Cliffe's estimates of the cost of the spraying.
Cliffe said that his cost estimates were based on information received from the state Department of Environmental Conservation. One of the officials he spoke with was originally involved with the mosquito program in Amherst.
"He said that to have a proper mosquito control program, we would have to have one person who is full-time, year round, and highly trained. We would then have to have several summer 'helpers' who would go around and sample various parts of the town for mosquitoes, and report back to our lead mosquito specialist," Cliffe said. "He would then prepare daily packages to rush off to a laboratory who would report on the type of larvae and mosquito, and whether there was a health hazard or not."
Based upon this information, the town would then use the various forms of mosquito control, safely hitting the larvae where they germinate.
"All of this costs a great deal, and that doesn't count the cost of equipment, building space, vehicles and so on. He stated that Amherst's program cost over a quarter of a million dollars several years ago when he was there," Cliffe said.
Spraying previously done in Wheatfield cost $25,000 to $30,000, but has limited effect and the spray itself is potentially a hazard, Cliffe said.
"To safely and lawfully spray, monitoring of mosquitoes must occur to obtain the necessary permits. You can't go with a general feeling that mosquito spraying is needed, nor base spraying upon a few phone calls from concerned residents," he said.