Hillsboro decides not to spray for mosquitos

The Hillsboro City Council met at a different time this week due to a lack of a quorum available for their normal meeting time. The meeting was short and was held at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, July 21.

City Administrator Matt Stiles reported to the council that some residents have been contacting the city to see if they were planning on fogging for mosquitos.

“At this point, we have no plans to spray, and we have not done so for many years. But I felt that is was important to have a discussion with you all to see what your wishes are,” said Stiles. “The fogging chemicals have to be applied when there is little to no wind at active times, dawn or at dusk. The chemical is an aerosol that dissipates in air. It works by attaching to mosquitos that are actively flying. The chemical does not leave a residual and will not kill mosquito larva. To be effective, there needs to be 3-4 successive days of applications and this is difficult.”

Stiles explained that spraying was the standard practice for years across the nation, but in the last decade there has been a lot of resistance to fogging for mosquitos. While the chemicals are believed to be safe for humans, they have been known to trigger reactions in sensitive individuals.

“There has also been a significant amount of resistance to spraying because the fogging agents will kill any flying insect which may be helpful such as bees,” said Stiles.

Councilmember Byron McCarty said he researched the issue as well and found that birds can be negatively impacted by the spray as well.

The city does offer mosquito briquets to residents to treat standing water. Crews also treat areas

of standing water with briquets to prevent mosquitos from hatching. The briquets along with diligently

removing areas of standing water help control the mosquito population without spraying. Other

communities have also found success using natural predators for mosquitos including dragonflies,

bats and fathead minnows.

“We usually provide anyone who asks for the briquets with 3 — which can treat up to 300

square foot area —per request,” said Stiles.

The council discussed it and voted to not spray.

In other business, the council:

n approved invoices

n learned that the city received its first American Recovery Plan Act assistance payment of $213,602.90 on July 9. The second payment of funds will happen in July 2022 for a total of $427,205.80. The funds have limited uses, but can be used for sewer and water infrastructure projects.

n received an update on the dedication Trail Gate party that it was a success with around 30 people in attendance. Stiles said that the trail continues to get used regularly. The city has been adding signs and working on finding trash can locations and finding places for other amenities. Street crews are also going to be adding crosswalks to the intersections.

n heard that the water treatment facility has spent weeks dealing with alternating high levels of blue-

green algae and iron and manganese. The high levels of iron and manganese can cause discoloration and odor issues. The water produced is safe and high quality, but the treatment to get the water that way has been more extensive than normal. Stiles informed the council that some of the treatment agents are being used in greater quantities so the city will be having a meeting with the Kansas Water Office to begin negotiating a new water purchase agreement for water from the reservoir.

n learned that city crews have begun working on the community plaza dirt work. They have removed

a lot of chunks from the basement and part of an old cistern. A small group is meeting this week to finalize the spray park features. EBH is working on some elevations for the park. It is unclear what will be completed this season.

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