West Nile, weed control continue on this summer
Like thunder storms and hot sunny days, both West Nile virus and noxious weeds take off during the summer months, causing problems that left unattended can easily become serious.
West Nile virus is likely one of the more serious preventible disease issues that face not only Carbon County, but the entire country because while it is preventible, it is not always easily preventible especially in large rural areas,. In Carbon County nearly 100 percent of populated areas are treated with a mosquito insecticide.
"We pre-treat the standing water with a larvicide and spray most of Carbon County four times a week," said Mikel Johnson, the Supervisor for the county's pest control. For the most part, the county begins it's mosquito spraying very early in the morning, around 2 or 3 am and goes until it gets too hot, starting in Price and working their way outward towards Helper and East Carbon.
Johnson advises that mitigating the West Nile threat is simply a matter of getting rid of standing water on ones property as well as using DEET-based repellents. "During the day they're (mosquitoes) just pesky," said Johnson. "The West Nile mosquitoes only bite from dusk to dawn."
Chemicals the county uses to combat mosquitoes are, according to Johnson, reasonably safe and while around 5,600 gallons of it are sprayed across the county every summer, most of it is water because the mixture is about 14 to one.
"I usually buy about 400 gallons of chemical every summer (for mosquitoes)," said Johnson.
As for the county's weed problem Johnson believes that it is also under reasonable control because unlike other parts of the American west, Carbon county does not have a significant problem with a noxious weed called leafy spurge.
"We have very little leafy spurge," said Johnson." Pretty much got it taken care of." However other weeds like Musk Thistle, have been problematic locally. But for the most part, Johnson would like to prevent invasive weeds from getting a foothold in Carbon county to begin with.
"We try to keep them all out, but we're concerned about scotch thistle that comes from Utah county." said Johnson. "The seeds get picked up along the railroad by the train, but it also depends on how the wind blows."
For the most part the county uses a variety of chemicals for weeds control including Roundup, Clear-Leaf and 24D. All of these chemicals kill weeds by making them grow faster, which in turn forces the plant to use up it's resources.
Aside from chemicals, the county utilizes biological control in the form of insects that put many of the problem weeds in check.
"We buy anywhere from 10 to 30,000 bugs every year," said Johnson, who added that he has had success with the bugs depending on the weed, and hopes that it will continue.