After concerns from community members spiked last summer and this summer due to the prevalence of West Nile Virus in the area, and at the suggestion of Trustee Richard L. Udd, the Cedaredge Board of Trustees passed a new law to protect the public’s health and safety by controlling and reducing mosquito and rodent populations by requiring that property owners actively participate in pest management.
The new law is detailed in Ordinance 2020-06 and the full text can be found online at www.CedaredgeColorado.com/DocumentCenter under Permanent Records. The law goes into effect on Aug. 22.
West Nile virus (WNV) is the leading cause of mosquito-borne disease in the continental United States. It spreads to people by the bite of an infected mosquito. Cases of WNV occur during mosquito season, which starts in the summer and continues through fall. There are no vaccines to prevent or medications to treat WNV in people. In 2019, of the 122 total positive human cases of WNV in the State of Colorado, Delta County had 44 positive cases, or about 36 percent of the all cases in the state. Additionally, Delta County had two of the State’s eight human deaths due to WNV last year.
“That’s a statistic we hope to be able to fix within Cedaredge with this new law,” explained Mayor Raymond F. Hanson. “We don’t want to see any loss of life due to something we can help mitigate, like mosquito control.”
Historically, the Town has done three roadside fogging applications in the peak of the season, and has already fogged twice this year. That isn’t enough protection for the community, Mayor Hanson stressed. “The best defense is all of us working together by taking care of our properties.” This means draining or treating standing water on your property that could attract mosquitoes, including old tires, cans, flowerpots, swimming pools/hot tubs, clogged gutters, toys or other sources of water collection.
The new law prohibits the collection of standing water on properties, unless that water is treated with larvicide. Mosquito larva develop in untreated standing water. “We have two local businesses that supply chemicals that are safe to use on your property around your pets and children, and that are cost effective,” Mayor Hanson said; Big John’s and Cropworx both carry the products.
A piece of the new legislation also calls for rodent control, specifically mentioning prairie dogs and rats, and requires property owners to make sure all grounds, buildings and structures are free of rodent harborage or infestation.
Enforcement will be handled the same as other code-enforcement issues within the Town, on a complaint basis. Similar to weeds or garbage that gets out of control, if you notice a neighboring property that has untreated standing water where mosquitoes are breeding, please call the Cedaredge Police Department at 970-856-4301 and make a nuisance complaint. Officers will respond to the property and work with the property owner to mitigate the threat. Owners who do not comply with the law face fines and potentially a citation to municipal court.
In addition to draining standing water on your property, the Board wants to stress additional ways to keep yourself and your families safe this year from WNV. Remember the Four D’s: Use an insect repellant like DEET; Drain standing water; avoid prime mosquito times like Dawn and Dusk; and Dress in long sleeves and pants when and where mosquitoes are most active.
“We want everyone to stay safe and healthy this summer,” Mayor Hanson said. “We’re asking you to help keep the whole community safe with these simple steps that will have a big impact.”