EEE concerns keep mosquito sprayers busy

Kalamazoo and Battle Creek

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — Companies that spray for mosquitoes are seeing an increase in business after an outbreak of the Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus, including three that were deadly.

Mosquito Shield in Kalamazoo is receiving more calls from people who want to have their property treated. Field technician Adam Grenon said they have been working almost nonstop to keep up with demand.

“I’m constantly seeing new names,” Grenon said. “I’m constantly seeing new houses.”

The company has been busy spraying around homes, businesses and schools.

“We like to put a barrier of the spray around the woods and the vegetation of the property,” Grenon explained. “That’s what we would cover initially and then we like to do a double layer defense.”

Eliminating standing water from your property can make do a lot to reduce the mosquito population. Grenon said a leaf full of water is enough for 80 mosquitos to hatch.

This time of year is when business normally starts to taper off for the season, but concern about the EEE outbreak is bringing in more customers.

“That’s definitely unusual,” Grenon said. “This is usually when it’s winding down because people are expecting that first frost.”

He cautioned that a light frost may not be enough to provide significant relief.

“Hopefully the frost will take care of it but this is Michigan weather and if it can warm back up high enough and quick enough then the frost will not be the final killer that it usually is so it is a bit unpredictable,” Grenon said.

State health officials say the threat will remain until the first hard frost. That may not be until mid-October for some southwestern counties, Storm Team 8 says.

Following s state recommendation, several school districts in the region have rescheduled outdoor events, including football games, to earlier in the day so that they’ll be done before dusk, when mosquitoes may be more active.


Meanwhile, a performance by county music star Luke Bryan at the Richland Park Horse Trial as part of is Farm Tour will go on as scheduled, but Richland Township Clerk Bear Priest said concert organizers will be taking additional precautions.

“I’ve been in contact with Luke Bryan’s advance team and his logistics manager and they are going to be spraying the farm in cooperation with our local farmer, the Staffords,” Priest said. “That will be sprayed at least 24 hours in advance.”

The township says spectators should also take precautions by wearing bug spray containing DEET and wearing long clothing.

“The reality is Equine Encephalitis is a real thing. It’s happening in our communities right here,” Priest said.

Township officials say they are getting regular updates on the event.

“Luke Bryan’s team is taking every precaution they can to make sure it’s a safe event,” Priest said.

Concert organizers did not respond Thursday to News 8’s request for comment.

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