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Larvicide program gets green light

By Nicole Kleinsteuber
Council gave Hastings Prince Edward County Health Unit the go ahead to initiate its larviciding program in a bid to prevent West Nile virus in the County.

The plan involves a precautionary application of methoprene to control infected mosquitoes.

“We will only use chemicals if we’re in a serious situation, like back in 2002 were there were several thousand cases,” said Eric Serwotka, Director for Hastings and Prince Edward Counties Health Unit, during a deputation to council Tuesday.  “If we don’t see that evidence than we will not use it.”

Serwotka said chemicals haven’t been applied in Prince Edward County since 2007, adding the amounts were small and targeted in their use.

“Because of the unknown nature and the cycle of the potential disease we need to be prepared in terms of the use if there was a serious problem,” said Serwotka.

Serwotka said he’s aware that the use of methoprene has been a growing concern to the public.

“The use of methoprene and any other type of product will only be used in the case where there is a definite outbreak of West Nile in the vicinity or community,” said Serwotka.  It will be used in a targeted manner and only if there is a risk to humans.”

Councillor Alec Lunn doesn’t favour the idea and suspects the use of methoprene could be associated with the depletion of salamander and frog populations.

“These types of chemicals that we use in our ditches and our waterways to control mosquitoes are killing a lot of other animals,” said Lunn.

“We don’t want to introduce anything to the environment that would be unsafe or a potential hazard to people and certainly we want to be good stewards to the environment,” said Serwotka.

“I see a lot of damage being done and it scares the heck out of me to see what’s going on with larvicides, herbicides and sprays that we’ve been using all over the world for decades now that we never heard of before, much less used, and the damage is incredible,” said Lunn.

Serwotka said the Health Unit would inform the administration before making a decision to use larvicides within the community.

“We will consider any of the potential environmental impacts,” said Serwotka. “There would a posting in the paper outlining the plan.”

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  1. Doris Lane says:

    I like Alec Lunn am not in favour of using pesticides of any type anywhere.
    There has to be another method of dealing with the treat of West Nile.
    I know a few years ago a lot of things were sprayed. OUr environment is so full of dangerous chemicals now that I hate to see more added.

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