FRANKFORT, Ky. - Agriculture Commissioner James Comer said the Kentucky Department of Agriculture will commit resources to conduct aerial mosquito control applications around Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley in an effort to knock down a significant infestation caused by heavy rains in the area.
Department officials met with representatives of Gov. Steve Beshear's administration last week, and the group put together a plan to address the problem.
"This infestation is beyond the capability of the Kentucky Department of Agriculture to control from the ground," Comer said. "This is a serious problem for our friends in western Kentucky, and we want them to know that help is on the way."
"Members of my cabinet are again partnering with the Department of Agriculture to bring relief to residents of western Kentucky during this most recent mosquito infestation," Gov. Beshear said. "Over the last few years, we have worked hard to provide resources to communities in this region hit hardest by mosquitoes during the summer months. We will continue to work with Commissioner Comer to monitor the situation and help address the problem going forward."
A state entomologist recently visited the affected area to assess the severity of the problem and relayed his findings to Comer and the Department of Agriculture.
As a result of the entomologist's report, the Department of Agriculture will work with private contractors - Clarke, a global environmental products and services company based in Roselle, Ill., and Dynamic Aviation of Bridgewater, Va. - to spray an area within two miles around the lakes between the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers to the north and U.S. 68 to the south.
The total area to be treated is approximately 133,249 acres. Product will be applied at a rate of 0.8 ounce per acre.
No special precautions are necessary during the application, according to Clarke, but the company encourages residents with individual health concerns to contact their healthcare providers.
Clarke and Dynamic Aviation have been involved in every major mosquito outbreak since 1999, including the outbreak that followed Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005.
Comer will appear at a town hall meeting in Trigg County next week to discuss the department's plan and answer questions from the public.
Roger Thomas with the Governor's Office of Agricultural Policy and numerous other state and local officials also will attend. The meeting will take place on July 2 at 9 a.m. CDT at the Renaissance Center in Cadiz.
The Kentucky Department of Agriculture sprays for mosquitoes at the request of local officials. The insecticides the Department uses are rigorously tested and degrade quickly.
To see a spraying schedule and for more information on the program, go to the department's website, www.kyagr.com.