SARAH Poole and her crew at the Alamosa Mosquito Control District have begun their annual operations to address the adult mosquito population in the city limits and unincorporated areas of Alamosa County.
Poole’s main concern going into the summer of 2023 is the possible loss of the Alamosa Mosquito Control District’s aerial spray efforts to address the agricultural and unincorporated areas of the district. The pilot who conducted the aerial spraying has retired and Poole so far hasn’t found a replacement.
“We’re struggling to find a pilot and that may ground us,” said Poole. “It’s challenging because it’s not just a pilot that can come in. In order to use and apply our aircraft, it’s an aerial application for ag spray. So it takes a tail-wheel endorsement as well as experience in ag application, which not all pilots have.”
Poole is hoping to eventually add more spraying trucks to cover the Alamosa Mosquito Control District area. But with an already-tight working space, housing additional trucks would require a larger facility.
This summer it’s make-do with the staff, trucks and equipment available because there is no time to waste when it comes to mosquito control. Seasonal workers Tori Ford and Chad Jackson are already out each morning treating water with larvicide to help reduce the summer mosquito population.
“Any drop of water that they are coming across right now, they are treating it,” said Poole. “There are larvae in the water. A few flying mosquito adults are starting to pop out. As the water temps get warmer, the mosquito larvae will grow faster.”
Alamosa Mosquito Control District is funded through a voter-approved mill levy on property. A home with a $200,000 assessed value pays around $70 to $80 annually to help fund the Alamosa Mosquito Control District.
As the days and evenings get warmer, the mosquito control district will look to begin its truck spraying operations sometime around Memorial Weekend. It’s then that mosquitos “really explode,” Poole said.
“Our community outside the city limits is growing immensely and growing pretty rapidly. Without the aerial program, we’re going to have to compensate for that area with trucks,” she said.
The Alamosa Mosquito Control District generally sprays from 7 o’clock on in the summer evenings. You could say it’s that time of the year.