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Getting them where they live

Karen Woodmansee
Appeal Staff Writer
Kevin Clifford/Nevada Appeal Trae Lee, pest control technician for Integrity Pest Management, uses a ladle to check for mosquito larvae at a water source on Quilici Ranch in Dayton on July 27.
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Spring and summer is the time to be outdoors, but if you live near water, there’s often a horde of hungry creatures waiting for you.

Mosquitoes.

But in Central Lyon County this year, the mosquito problem has been largely abated, thanks to a new company that kills them before they actually become insects.

Tim Plants of Integrity Pest Management was given the task of fighting the ravenous critters and a recent hunt for mosquitoes or their larvae at the Quilici Ranch in Dayton shows his crew are real mosquito terminators.

Mounted on quads, Plants and an assistant hit seven different water sources on the ranch to check for larvae. They found none.

“If you can get mosquitoes before they hatch, that’s half the battle,” he said. “We can’t get rid of them, but we can control them to the point where they’re not a nuisance.”

Plants said this year’s drought changes the mosquito situation, but doesn’t alleviate it.

“In a dry year you’re going to have less breeding sites, but the breeding sites that are there have more mosquitoes because they are just more contained,” he said. “When you go to a bad breeding site you could have 100 to 200 in there.”

Though he uses several types of pesticides to kill the larvae, Plant said the company’s biggest tool is a Global Positioning System.

“What we did is go and GPS all of the breeding sites so we can document what’s been done at each site,” he said.

They mapped all the sites around the river, where sloughs, or ponds caused by runoff prevail, from Dayton to Lake Lahontan, and treated all known sites.

Since mosquitoes breed in standing water – not moving water like the river – Plants concentrates on sloughs, ponds and ranchers’ fields after irrigation, but he still has to keep an eye on the river.

“When the river is so low, it creates ponds, and then it can breed mosquitoes,” he said. “If you can control them in the water, you don’t have to put pesticides in the air. This year we have 99 percent control on the ground.”

He does have an ally in the Carson River – mosquito fish that eat the larvae.

He tries to use biological larvicides like Teknar HD-D, which is used in larger sloughs, but also uses Altosid XR briquettes that last between 30 and 150 days. He said the Altosid is not biological, but is safe for fish, deer and other wildlife that drink from the sloughs.

Integrity Pest Management is also responsible for fighting black flies, which come out from March to June. He said the Teknar can also be used for the flies.

“They grow in moving water,” he said. When the water starts flooding, the black flies hatch.”

Mosquitoes are active in Central Lyon County from February to November, he said.

Plants’ company won the contract to control black flies and mosquitoes in Central Lyon County in January by being the low bidder after the commissioners received many complaints about its predecessor, Pestmasters.

“Tim is outstanding,” said Toni Anderson, president of the Central Lyon County Vector Control Board. “”We haven’t had to use any aerial spraying at all. ”

Integrity Pest Management’s bid was $293,850 for the three-year contract.

Plants’ efforts are paid for by the taxpayers, since the vector control board is a taxing body, but Anderson said they have more than gotten their money’s worth.

She said the only complaint the board has received is about the campground at Lake Lahontan State Park, which the vector control board does not treat. It also doesn’t treat the Dayton State Park.

“People in Central Lyon County aren’t paying taxes to have the state parks treated,” she said.

The board’s tax rate is .0400, which she said amounted on her bill to $1.14 a year for the personal property – a mobile home – on it, $1.77 for the lot and $3.29 a year for improved property. The tax is only paid by homeowners in Central Lyon County from Mound House to Silver Springs, south to the Carson River.

“People are not paying very much out of their own pockets for a year for vector control,” she said.

• Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at kwoodmansee@nevadaappeal.com or 882-2111 ext. 351.