ASHLAND - For the first time this season, the City of Ashland will spray and for mosquitoes Thursday.
This year's first treatment comes nearly three months later than the first treatment of 2018, when the city's mosquito spraying contractor began spraying May 24.
Ashland City Parks Director Jason Counts said city sets its treatment schedule based on complaints from residents as well as on the results of monitoring by the Ashland County Health Department, which uses mosquito traps to track the types of mosquitoes and the diseases they may carry.
Counts said this year, a majority of mosquito complaints the city has received have been in reference to the insects in the city's parks, where excessive rains have caused issues with standing water. The city plans to spray only in and around the parks and the water and sewage treatment facilities, unless a need to spray elsewhere is demonstrated.
Insecticides will be applied in Brookside Park, Brookside West Park, Cahn Grove Park, Community Soccer Stadium, Spring Run Park on 16th Street, Emmons Field, Miller Field, Evergreen Park and Davis Road Parks after dusk, beginning at approximately 9:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 15. In case of rain, the treatment will be rescheduled for the same time Monday, Aug. 19.
The mosquito control application uses a combination of fogging and spraying, depending on the size of the area.
"The larger parks will utilize fogging around the perimeter of the parks, the ballfields, and the tree lines with minimum impact to the fields and grass areas," a press release from the city says. "The smaller parks will be sprayed."
Mosquito dunks will be placed in areas of standing water to disrupt the life-cycle and reproduction of mosquitoes.
To find out more about the insecticide that will be used, refer to the Material Safety Data Sheet on the city's website.
This year, the city is contracting with a new company, Stewart Pest and Mosquito Control of New Franklin, to do the treatment. The contractor that performed the treatment for the city last year is no longer in business, according Counts.
Counts said the city does have its own fogger and has used it to spray insecticide throughout the city in the past, prior to Counts' hiring in 2018. Counts said he does not know why previous city administrators stopped performing the work in-house and began contracting with an outside company to spray the parks only and to spray only on an as-needed basis.
In 2017 press release published in The Ashland Times-Gazette, the city stated the previous practice of spraying throughout town was "effective but cost-prohibitive and raised concerns about the effects of the insecticide on residents."
The release went on to say the city would take a new approach starting in summer 2017, "balancing the need for mosquito control, along with the diseases they can carry, with the need to control costs and also keep the use of insecticides to a minimum in the city."
Mosquito spraying within the city is paid for using grant money awarded to the Ashland County Health Department, Counts said.
Ashland County Health Department Director of Environmental Health Pat Donaldson could not be reached for comment Monday.