Cattaraugus County Holding Off On Spraying

OLEAN – When you walk out the backdoor, how long does it take to slap the first mosquito? If you are in Cattaraugus County, chances are, it didn’t take all that long. County officials have said, at this point, it’s on you to get rid of the problem.

According to Dr. Kevin Watkins, county public health director, the mosquito situation in Cattaraugus County is not a public hazard, but is at the nuisance level, and that does not warrant spraying.

“Our surveillance of larvae and pupae populations have found that all pools in the county test negative for West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis,” Watkins said. “There is a large population of adult mosquitoes in Great Valley, Kill Buck, Allegany and Westons Mills, but nothing to warrant spraying.”

Residents of the county may disagree, however, since Watkins has been out to several sites with county legislators to see what the residents are seeing. Watkins said he did see the large adult populations, first-hand, and also saw additional pools of larvae and pupae in buckets and ponds, as well as wooded areas.

“Unfortunately, we do not have the funds for a nuisance program,” he said. “Right now, we are in the process of finding independent contractors that can help residents in lessening the problem.”

Watkins said residents should take precautions that will reduce exposure and allure to the biting, female adults. Those would include wearing light-colored clothing, wearing long sleeves and pants at dusk and dawn times, using repellents, having screens in doors and windows and removal of pooling water, as those act as breeding grounds for the insects.

According to Eric Wohlers, Cattaraugus County environmental health director, over 30 species of mosquito can be found in Western New York. Each species is capable of carrying diseases that are specific to them, and not all respond to the same types of traps. So far, after deploying several types of those traps, nothing that would constitute a health threat has been discovered and, without that threat being fully documented, no spraying will take place in Cattaraugus County.