City spraying for mosquitoes, asks for public’s help

Alabaster has been spraying for mosquitoes for the past several weeks. (File)

Alabaster has been spraying for mosquitoes for the past several weeks. (File)

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

ALABASTER – Alabaster crews have been working each day to control the city’s mosquito population for the past several weeks, but is asking for the public’s help in fighting the potentially disease-carrying insects.

In May, Alabaster crews started using the city’s 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.

Alabaster City Manager George Henry said the truck typically is finished spraying before daybreak, and said the sprayer does not completely eliminate the pests in all areas of the city.

Control measures and treatments employed by the city are designed to reduce adult and breeding populations,” read a post on the city’s website. “These treatments are in addition to, but not in the replacement of, the measures that individuals can implement to protect yourself, your family, and your pets.

“There is no way to kill all mosquitoes within the city,” read the site. “We can focus on prevention by reducing adult populations to therefore reduce disease transmission.”

Because Public Works will only be treating public rights of way, 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 environment – 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. 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.