Expensive extensive mosquito abatement season underway

RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Helicopter Pilot Khaythan Chamberlain takes me up for a tour of the North Valleys to show me just how much water there is to treat. Here is Silver Lake, where warehouses now have lakeside property.

The stagnant water, especially where there are algae blooms, are a particular favorite for breeding mosquitoes.

The helicopter made five passes through this area, dropping larvicide pellets.

“What is does is it's a bacteria. And so when the mosquito larvae ingest the bacteria that activates the spores and it basically tears their mid-gut. It's a specific target for mosquito larvae. And no other biologicals in the water,” says Jim Shaffer with Washoe County Health Department Vector Control.

The more water, more mosquito equation has another element, more money.

To give you an idea of how extensive this mosquito season is going to be this year, about eight pallets with 60 bags of larvicide will be used exclusively on the north valleys. It comes out to about $50,000.

Vector control is spending more on this application alone in the North Valleys than they have for all of last year. One reason: Swan Lake didn't exist last year.

Flying over Lemmon Valley you get a good view of desert land now saturated with water. The wall built to keep the rain and runoff from homes holds a couple of inches of water that won't be evaporating anytime soon.

Over the hills to Spanish Springs, where a golf course and large strips between developments as well at wetlands will be treated.

One body of water too was not here last year. Add it to the “to do” list.

The treatment will last up to 20 days, at which point look to the skies for Khaythan, as well as ground crews who continue to fight the prolific mosquito.