Mosquito Abatement Begins in Saratoga

Town of Saratoga, with funding from County and State, starts summer battle against mosquitoes

As the summer has returned to Saratoga, so too has the frustrating bites of mosquitoes and the familiar hum of the Town of Saratoga’s mosquito fogger.

By now, all neighborhoods in town have likely seen the white single-cab truck with the red fogger in its bed driving through their area. According to Director of Public Works Emery Penner, residents should expect to see fogging on Monday evenings, Wednesday evenings and Friday evenings. That schedule, he added, is dependent on the weather.

There’s more to mosquito abatement than having someone go through town with a truck and fogger, though. For starters, there’s specific routes the fogger needs to take through town with a primary focus on alleyways.

“We try to do the alleyways because there’s more vegetation, more hiding places [for mosquitos]. We are going to do both streets and alleys for the next couple applications, just to get more coverage,” said Chuck McVey, water/wastewater supervisor. “In the past, it has always been the alleys. We’ve had people ask to spray both street and alley. The next couple of weeks, we’ll probably do streets and alleys and once we get them knocked down then we’ll go back to doing just the alleys.”

The primary chemical used by the Town of Saratoga for mosquito abatement is Biomist 3+15 ULV, or ultra-low volume. Biomist is an adulticide, meaning it specifically targets adult mosquitos. While the fogger is often throttled down when passing by residences where people are outside, McVey said there is no cause for concern as to impacts on humans or animals.

“This chemical is target specific. It only targets mosquitos and black flies. If the bees are out, it’ll target the bees. Spraying down with a good mosquito repellent that’s got a lot of DEET in it is probably more harmful than this product here,” said McVey. “It takes about two-and-a-half gallons of product to cover each side of town. When you think two-and-a-half gallons spread out over that kind of area, the amount of product is very minimal.”

Along with spraying an adulticide on the ground level, the Town of Saratoga also contracts for aerial spraying. One aerial spraying has been conducted so far this summer with at least two more scheduled, the next one being around July 10. That, also, is weather dependent. The aerial spraying, however, is intended to focus on mosquito larva and uses a larvicide called Aquabac. Like Biomist, Aquabac is target specific for the larva of mosquitoes and black flies and is a microbial insecticide which prevents the larva from reaching adult stages.

As part of the mosquito abatement program—which is heavily granted funded with $30,000 from Carbon County and $12,500 from the State of Wyoming—the Town of Saratoga has to also track the success of the program. Rather than taking a show of hands as to whether residents think they’re slapping at less mosquitos as the season goes on, the Town puts out bait traps. This is not only to determine the mosquito population, but what mosquitoes are in the area. According to Teton County Weed and Pest, there are 56 different species of mosquito in Wyoming. The most common species include the Western Encephalitis, which is known for carrying the West Nile Virus, the Summer Saltmarsh Mosquito and the aedes spenceril idahoensis.

According to Penner, there is little to no population of the Western Encephalitis in Saratoga which is also the reason for the lower funding from the State. Penner said the funding from the State of Wyoming is based upon that population to help mitigate cases of the West Nile Virus.

Data from the Wyoming Department of Health showed that, in Carbon County, there was only one case of the West Nile Virus detected in a human between 2015 and 2024 with that case being in 2023.

“Along with the spraying, we do partake in a reasonable amount of trapping to identify how well things are working and what we’re going to do next,” said Penner.

“Then we have to put them under a microscope and figure out what species [they are] and whether they’re male or female,” added McVey.

According to Penner, anyone with questions about the chemicals used for mosquito abatement is more than welcome to request information sheets at Saratoga Town Hall.



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