Williams city council approves contract with Colusa Mosquito Abatement District

City will pay district more than $53,000 for minimal control program

For the second straight year, the City of Williams will contract with the Colusa Mosquito Abatement District to provide a control program within city limits.

The city council voted unanimously at last month’s meeting to enter into a cooperative agreement with the Colusa Mosquito Abatement District, in the amount of $53,289.85.

The $53,000-plus price tag is heftier than what the city paid for mosquito abatement services last year. That’s because the Colusa Mosquito Abatement District will provide a more robust control program this time around, City Administrator Frank Kennedy told the council at their May 12 meeting.

“The cost is higher, but the service is more expansive,” Kennedy said. “The way I look at this is that it is an all-or-nothing thing. If we’re not going to do it right, we shouldn’t do it at all.”

Prior to the council taking any action, councilman John Troughton said that he knew the balance of the council would vote to secure the services of the Colusa Mosquito Abatement District, effectively rendering a no-vote meaningless – but Troughton didn’t end up voting against it. Instead, he expressed his support for the beefed-up abatement program that was being proposed.

“If this is for a wider area, I’m for it. Like you say, Frank, if we’re going to do this, lets do it right,” Troughton said.

Colusa Mosquito Abatement District Manager David Whitesell said that the mosquito abatement program his staff plans to implement in Williams this year will indeed be more expansive than last year’s.

“We will do an aircraft program that will span three miles around the center of town. We will start spraying on July 3 or July 4, and we will go into September,” Whitesell said, adding that Williams’ mosquito problem is the worst in September, when rice fields are drained and a swarms of the insects migrate into town from surrounding rice land, searching for a blood meal.

“When the rice fields are drained, there is always an influx of those kinds of mosquitoes coming into town. We’re pretty much going to do just what we did last year, but we’re going to go twice a week in September, which will give (Williams residents) better relief,” Whitesell said.

While Whitesell said that the beefed up aircraft spraying program will provide residents greater relief from the pesky, bloodsucking insects, the program approved by the Williams City Council was ultimately a minimal control program.

“For a complete program, Williams would need surveillance and control by both ground and air, at least to get to what the City of Colusa is doing. A good program is a complete program. It includes both larvacides and chemicals used for adult control,” Whitesell said. “The district itself has a good control program in place in Colusa. We really do.”

The contract for abatement services approved by the Williams City Council last month is a step up from last year’s, but it’s still “not the complete answer,” he added.

Nevertheless, Whitesell’s staff will put a surveillance trap in Williams and monitor it weekly to see how the mosquito population responds to the aerial spraying. Based on the analysis of the surveillance trap during last year’s airplane spraying, Whitesell said he is confident that the spraying effectively knocked down the mosquito population in Williams, and that it would do so again this year – hopefully, with prolonged relief for residents.

“We were killing mosquitoes, but it’s just a minimum control program,” Whitesell said. “Looking at the traps, you could see the population drop immediately after we sprayed, and then the population would back up before the next round of spraying occurred.”

Brian Pearson
Brian Pearson is the Managing Editor & Reporter for the Williams Pioneer Review. Brian joined the Williams Pioneer Review in June 2016 and is committed to bringing hyperlocal news to its readers. A few of his projects include reporting on local government and the newly feature sports page. To contact Brian about this article, or for future articles, please email him at brian@colusacountynews.net