On Tuesday night about 50 people attended a community forum to discuss this year’s mosquito problem and what can be done to address it. The event was organized by Keith and Glenda Nelson of Everett St. in the village and also included County Executive Vince Horrigan, Falconer Mayor David Krieg, County Environmental Health Director Mark Stow and DEC field biologist Jamie Haight.
During the meeting, residents shared their experiences with the mosquito nuisance, with many saying they were unable to go outside at certain hours because the issue has gotten so bad. They also said that the youth soccer teams from both Frewsburg and Randolph are refusing to play in Falconer because of the nuisance, adding that no matter how much repellent they use, it doesn’t stop the mosquitoes from biting.
Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be any immediate fix to the problem. Haight explained that the village, like other communities in the region, is at the mercy of mother nature and as long as we have a wetter than usual summer, the mosquito population will be larger than average.
Officials also said that unless there is a serious public health hazard for residents – such as the discovery of West Nile or Eastern Equine Encephalitis, (EEE) – it’s unlikely spraying areas of the village – which would require state permission – will take place. And Haight said that because the type of mosquito that is most prevalent in the village isn’t a common carrier of either disease, spraying doesn’t appear to be an option at this point.
“I’m not going to make a commitment to spraying (pesticides),” Horrigan told the audience. “That’s just not an option to consider at this time.”
Instead, Horrigan and Krieg said that the village and county’s public works departments will work together to look for ways to eliminate standing water, focusing primarily in the eastern side of area of the village along the Chadakoin River and Mill Race Park. Crews will look to see if there is a way to clear brush and other debris from those areas to help increase the flow of water and reduce standing water pools. They will also continue to educate the public about eliminating standing water pools around the home, which can be found in anything from buckets to old tires to bird baths.
“We’ll continue to work with the county and the state to see if there are any improvements that can be done,” Mayor Krieg said. “It’s a wide area, not just the village of Falconer, that’s swampy and you’ve got to get your neighboring communities to do things too, because mosquitoes don’t know boarders. As soon as you control some in one area for a few days, the others move right in.”
Meanwhile, Keith and Glenda Nelson say they will continue to work on raising awareness about the mosquito issue, as well as keeping an line of communication open between the Falconer community and village and county officials. “We will continue to work with Village and County officials to identify possible solutions to the large mosquito infestation in Falconer,” Nelson said. “We encourage our Falconer neighbors to attend the upcoming Village of Falconer Board meeting next Monday at the Community Building.”
Krieg said that its likely residents will have an update on the effort to battle the mosquitoes when the village board holds its next meeting at 7 p.m., Aug. 11 in the village community building on W. Main St.