Archived Story

Editorial: Spray in the out-of-way spots

Published 9:46am Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The mosquitoes in Albert Lea this month are about as bad as memory serves, and they are a reminder that our fair city is basically built on a swamp that constitutes the headwaters of the Shell Rock River.

And where there is plenty of water, there are plenty of mosquitoes.

Each year the city hires a bug sprayer to kill the pesky skeeters. Last week, the contractor was planning to spray by air but wind prevented that so the contractor drove around in a truck and sprayed instead.

To some degree, it worked. There seemed to be fewer mosquitoes in most typical city blocks. But it was clear for any places away from the roads — such as the larger city parks, golf courses, Blazing Star Trail, Riverland Community College and Albert Lea High School parking lots, Freeborn County Fairgrounds, some shopping centers, even some school playgrounds — that gassing the ground really doesn’t cut the mustard.

Imagine trying to play a game of tennis behind Albert Lea High School. Forget about it. Last week, it seemed as though bug spray only attracted more skeeters. Imagine walking the figure-eight paved trail along Garfield Avenue. It would be like donating blood to needy insects.

Albert Lea needs an aerial spray. The weather has been a bugger, too. If the weather doesn’t cooperate, attempt aerial again the next day, rather than going straight to the truck. If ground is the only way to spray, let the truck drive into the parks. Give the driver the gate key. Encourage the driver to enter school areas, the fairgrounds and in hard-to-reach-by-street places. After all, these green areas probably are where many of the hatchlings come from, rather than yards along the streets.

Maybe Albert Lea can strike back at the bugs.