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Shadow Butte Mosquitoes - Aug 2018

 

Shadow Butte Mosquito Problem

Shadow Butte Elementary School is 4.8 miles from downtown Emmett and is surrounded by row crops and pastures. It is also outside of the Gem County Mosquito Abatement District. Again this year the grounds are being inundated by mosquitoes.

“We thought last year was a bad year,” said Todd Adams, Principal, “but this year they are exceptionally thick. You cannot go outside without being covered with mosquitoes.”

This concern for the safety and comfort of students and staff is even higher this year as the West Nile virus was detected in mosquitoes at Shadow Butte Elementary. West Nile Virus only shows symptoms in approximately 1 in 5 people infected. For those that do show symptoms, they can range “from relatively mild to the devastating ravages of neurological disorders and even death.” “Don't take WNV lightly as there is now a growing body of evidence in the United States to indicate that even “milder” cases can experience prolonged after-affects like fatigue and an inability to concentrate. These conditions can last several months and can lead to signs of depression.” (Southwest District Health http://www.swdh.org/newsletter-09-17.asp)

Each year the Emmett Independent School District requests that the Gem County Mosquito Abatement District (GCMAD) assist in controlling the mosquitoes by spraying the school property. Regular fogging applications to control adult mosquitoes at Shadow Butte Elementary began Thursday, August 16, 2018.  Fogging applications are expected up to three times a week. “While the application will have a substantial effect on mosquitoes at the school at the time of application, abatement is not happening on adjacent properties and mosquitoes will re-infest the grounds rapidly,” said Jason Kinley, Director of GCMAD.

The irrigated farmland creates ideal breeding conditions for mosquitoes and a school with 500 students, and many staff and parents can provide ample opportunity for a blood meal that mosquitoes require to breed.

Parents and staff are asked to take precautions to protect themselves from being bitten by mosquitoes. Parents may send mosquito repellent and a note giving school staff permission to apply the repellent as the student leaves the building for recess. Students may also protect themselves by wearing long sleeves and pants. It may be a little warm, but much better than being eaten by mosquitoes.

When mosquitoes are the worse, the school will be holding recess indoors and having student line up for buses in the Gym. The infestation of mosquitoes is not expected to go away until we have our first frost.

Wayne Rush