Alabaster starts spraying for mosquitoes

Alabaster crews recently began spraying for mosquitoes, and will continue throughout the summer. (File)

Alabaster crews recently began spraying for mosquitoes, and will continue throughout the summer. (File)

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

Alabaster crews will be looking to prevent the spread of diseases such as the West Nile virus and chikungunya by regularly spraying parts of the city throughout the summer, and are also encouraging residents to contribute to the effort.

Public Works crews recently started using its spray truck to treat all public rights of way in the city in an effort to minimize the city’s mosquito population in the city. Public Works also will treat or eliminate areas of standing water in public areas throughout the city to reduce possible breeding grounds for the insects, according to information distributed by the city on May 9.

“The city will be spraying possibly breeding sites, within the public rights of way, that may transmit diseases such as West Nile Virus, Eastern Equine Encephalitis and Chikungunya,”read the city’s website. “Chikungunya is a disease that is indigenous to Africa and has recently shown up in the Caribbean.”

Trucks will spray along public rights of way throughout the city on a weekly rotation during the early morning hours, according to the city.

Because Public Works will only be treating public areas, the city is encouraging all residents to take steps to keep mosquitoes out of their yards:

Remove standing water – Adult mosquitoes lay eggs in stagnant or slow-moving water, so eliminating these water sources can prevent future generations of these pests from calling your yard home.

Toss and turn the items in your yard – Remove excess grass, leaves, firewood and clippings from your yard. Mosquitoes like dark patches of foliage because it serves as a place for them to rest.

-Grow your own insect repellants – If you’re interested in more natural ways to keep mosquitoes away, there are many plants with mosquito-repelling properties. Citronella, pennyroyal, basil, catnip and lemongrass are good choices.

-Add mosquito-eating species to your environnment – If you’ve got a pond, adding fish such as bluegills, minnows, green sunfish and gambusia can help control mosquitoes in water.

-Wear bright colors -Dark clothing attracts mosquitoes, so wear bright-colored clothing when spending time outdoors. (It’s more seasonal, anyway!) Keep fabrics looser, too, because some mosquitoes can bite through tighter-fitting clothing.

-Protect yourself while outdoors -Before stepping outside, spray an insect repellent on exposed skin. The Center for Disease Control has identified three ingredients that are effective as long-lasting insect repellents: DEET, Picaridin and oil of lemon eucalyptus.