This Bites

FALCONER – An out-of-control mosquito problem is creating a buzz in Falconer.

That’s why lifelong village residents Glenda and Keith Nelson have launched a communitywide action plan to spread the word and hopefully find a solution.

The Nelsons have been traveling door to door, handing out flyers and asking neighbors if they too are seeing an overwhelming number of mosquitoes in the area.

The flyer invites Falconer residents to join for a public meeting at Fenner Elementary School on Tuesday at 7 p.m. in cooperation with Mayor Dave Krieg, the village board and County Executive Vince Horrigan.

“The infestation is horrible. It’s just unbelievable,” Glenda Nelson said. “Concerned parents are keeping their children inside, youth sports teams can’t hold practice or games without being eaten alive and it’s nearly impossible to be outside in the later hours of the day.”

Where the Nelsons live on Everett Street, the Chadakoin River flows close by.

They thought the river might be the cause of the issue, seeing as how it overflows when heavy rains hit, leaving behind pools of stagnant water.

“We are discovering it’s not just here that’s been impacted – it’s all over the place,” Glenda Nelson said. “These are wetlands – our hands are kind of tied as to what we can do, and we know that, but there has to be something that can be done. We’re really nervous about the things that are happening.”

Keith Nelson said they have identified the land extending beyond their back yard is owned by the county, and that Falconer has the largest mosquito population of any other municipality in Chautauqua County. They have enlisted the help of local officials who will attend Tuesday’s meeting.

Although cases of West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis are rare, public health officials have released warnings often this summer to increase awareness about staying protected from mosquito bites.

So far this year, neither of the viruses have been detected in Chautauqua County, according to Mark Stow, director of Environmental Health Services.

Additionally, he said neither virus has ever caused a human fatality in Chautauqua County.

“Technically, West Nile manifests itself in August,” Stow said. “It’s a big mosquito year because of all the rainfall we’ve had.”

Stow said he and his team have been testing sites all over the county to identify any potential viruses, with results announced in mid-August.