“I raised 4 kids in Williston and there were years when basically we couldn’t do anything outside in June and July because of the mosquitos,” says Wendy Hansen, a longtime Williston resident.
You might have seen them buzzing around as well.
But for the eighth year, the Air Force Reserve has flown in to help combat the area’s mosquito population.
“What we’re using in the spray is a biological larvacide, it’s a bacterium that’s found in the soil, but it has a specific endospore that attaches to the stomach of a mosquito,” says Mark Breidenbaugh, research entomologist with the Air Force Reserve.
This mission is focused on larvaciding, or treating the water, to prevent mosquito larvae from progressing to adult form.
“It’s much easier to stop them here in the water before they become adults and become nuissances or vectors to the people in the town,” says Francis Bosch, director of the Williston Vector Control District.
And it’s those nuisance insects that are the target of this mission.
“Primarily what we’re after here are Aedes vexans. It’s a flood water mosquito. It’s the primary flood water mosquito,” says Bosch.
Water samples taken pre-and post-spray will help count the larvae population to assess the spray’s effectiveness.
“We can usually judge if it’s been a successful spray or not,” says Bosch.
Yellow water-sensitive cards will help measure the spray’s distribution.
While high-wind conditions have presented some barriers, the end goal remains the same.
“We just need more mornings like this and more evenings like this and we’ll be able to give Williston back their summer,” says Bosch.
And some would say they already have.
“They’ve been a God-send. I’m very grateful that the Air Force came to get them under control,” says Hansen.
The Air Force Reserve will return next month for adulticiding, treating the air to control adult mosquitos.