Fewer bites in skeeter-plagued Oregon coast town

BANDON — A year after people in Bandon spent a miserable summer swatting mosquitoes and hunkering down indoors, reports suggest there aren't nearly as many of the bugs buzzing around town this year.

Mosquito trap counts are down, The World newspaper reports, and recently were at about a tenth of the numbers recorded last year.

Also, fewer people show up at meetings of the mosquito board. Those who do report fewer mosquitoes on their property.

Last year, residents of the coastal tourist town blamed a wetlands restoration project at the Bandon Marsh National Wildlife Refuge for giving mosquito larvae large areas to grow to adulthood.

This year, some residents say larvicide hasn't been sprayed as widely as it could have been.

One, Don Chance, said he's skeptical of any reports of abated mosquitoes. A June 14-15 larvicide application hit only 140 acres, he said, less effective than it would have been to spray all 900 acres in the part of the marsh that has been restored to develop mudflats and other features of an intertidal habitat.

“They're only paying attention to this small portion of the marsh,” he said.

The next spraying is expected after the highest tide in the month, July 14.

Meanwhile, USFWS and Ducks Unlimited will begin work July 15 to add tidal channels to drain mosquito breeding habitat.

The mosquito board is formally known as the Vector Assessment and Control Committee. Its chairman, Roger Straus, said construction of bat houses will soon be underway, and they will be provided free to homes still suffering high numbers of the saltwater marsh mosquito that plagued the populace last year.

The swarms of mosquitoes that occur when large numbers of them reach adulthood are called fly-offs, and Straus said there was one early in July because some breeding pools were missed. A fly-off of mature mosquitoes also occurred in mid-May.

“There are some mosquitoes out there, but we haven't experienced masses or swarms, and it will be two to four weeks before they are gone,” Straus said.


Information from: The World, http://www.theworldlink.com

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