At the July 16 Cedaredge town meeting, the town board of trustees passed an ordinance for a new law, which will go into effect on Aug. 22.
This law will require property owners in Cedaredge to follow mosquito abatement on their properties after last year’s high number of West Nile virus cases.
According to a public service announcement from the Town of Cedaredge, Delta County alone had 44 cases out of the state of Colorado’s total of 122, which comes out to be about 36% of the state’s West Nile cases.
“After concerns from community members spiked last summer and this summer due to the prevalence of West Nile Virus in the area, and at the suggestion of Trustee Richard L. Udd, the Cedaredge Board of Trustees passed a new law to protect the public’s health and safety by controlling and reducing mosquito and rodent populations by requiring that property owners actively participate in pest management,” the announcement stated.
Out of the state’s eight deaths caused by West Nile, two were Delta County residents.
West Nile Virus is the most prevalent cause mosquito-borne illness in the country, according to the announcement.
The abatement law will mainly require property owners in town to drain or treat standing water to prevent mosquito-breeding grounds. This is the primary emphasis of the new law, which also prohibits the collection of standing water unless that water is treated with larvicide.
“We have two local businesses that supply chemicals that are safe to use on your property around your pets and children, and that are cost effective,” Cedaredge Mayor Ray Hanson said. Big John’s Ace and Cropworx both carry the products.
An additional piece of legislature coming out at the time will require rodent control. This piece specifically refers to prairie dogs and rats, requiring that land and building structures are kept free of rodent harboring or infestation.
According to the announcement, enforcement of the new law will be handled in the same manner to other code enforcement issues on a complaint basis. Noncompliances can be reported by neighbors as a nuisance complaint.
“Officers will respond to the property and work with the property owner to mitigate the threat,” the announcement said. “Owners who do not comply with the law face fines and potentially a citation to municipal court.”
In addition to pest abatement, particularly when it comes to mosquitoes, the Town of Cedaredge and the Delta County Health Department continue to remind residents to use effective insect repellent, mainly the types that have deet as an ingredient.
Also, residents should avoid being outside during prime mosquito times (dawn and dusk). They should wear long sleeves and repellent if out at those times.
The Town of Cedaredge already performs roadside fogging services in town three times each summer, but as Hanson and the board of trustees agreed, this is not enough to combat the problem to the best of its abilities.
“We want everyone to stay safe and healthy this summer,” Hanson said. “We’re asking you to help keep the whole community safe with these simple steps that will have a big impact.”