July 2017
Welcome to the Teton County Weed and Pest District newsletter! We plan on updating subscribers on useful information pertaining to Mosquitoes and Invasive Species.

Check out our website!

In this edition you will find information regarding:
  • Our fascinating seasonal spray crew!
  • The outlook for this mosquito season - NOT GOOD!!!
  • How to get text alerts when we spray mosquitoes in your area
  • Learn how YOU can spread the PlayCleanGo message AND win free gear!
  • Upcoming Events -Gros Ventres River Spray Days and July Board Meeting
What is so unusual about our 2017 Spray Crew?
You have surely seen those folks clad in orange vests, carrying heavy backpacks in the sweltering summer heat, scaling the steep terrain along the roads and highways in Teton County. After passing the TCWP pickup truck with the large water tank in the back, you probably realized you were seeing the TCWP seasonal spray crew hard at work. Did you ever wonder how they came to be spraying weeds and mosquitoes in Wyoming? Where were they from? Did they plan on doing this kind of work in the future or was it just a summer job adventure in the Tetons?

I experienced some hard days in the field with our seasonal crew this summer, and found surprising answers to some of these questions.
Meredith Runkle is a student at Rocky Mountain College in Montana. This is her 4th year with TCWP. Here she prepares to treat this flooded field for
mosquito larvae.

The Summer Spray Crew is hired by TCWP each summer from May through October, to spray weeds and mosquitoes in the county. This year's crew of 18 includes 14 "returners" who have worked on the spray crew previously, one of whom is here for his 9th consecutive season! Clearly there is something about this work that brings them back year after year.

Though the majority are in their early twenties, you may be surprised to know, they are not ALL college students on a summer job adventure. The crew also includes a college professor, a school teacher, a bee keeper, even a monk!

Richard Samualson is a college English teacher from Idaho who is working on his PhD. This year he brought his wife and 4 boys to Wyoming with him! Now that's dedication. Here he studies a GIS map to locate his next
weed spraying assignment.

You might think this type of work would only appeal to those planning a career in something similar. Not necessarily. Members of this highly educated crew are studying Public Health, Philosophy, Nursing, Dental Hygiene, Exercise Physiology, Political Science and Robotics! Many have their Master's degree and a few are working on PhDs!

Jacob is in his 4th year at TCWP. Despite his demonstrated commitment to a career in the field of Natural Resources, he is planning on a career in robotics!

So, what brings these intelligent and motivated individuals from all over the country out to Wyoming to spray weeds and mosquitoes for the summer? What keeps so many of them returning year after year? Answers include: The beautiful views while you work. The mountains. The free housing in Jackson. The great pay! Getting to work outside. The satisfaction of working for such a worthwhile mission.

Michael is in his 3rd year with TCWP after a 35-year career in the Forest Products Industry in Vermont. Here he prepares for another day of
mosquito trapping.

All of that is great, but I really wanted to know how they were able to cope with the overwhelming tasks they were faced with daily. How did they not become discouraged by the endless swaths of spotted knapweed along the highways, and the acres of flooded fields, teaming with mosquito larvae, as far as the eye could see?

Working with them this summer, I was impressed by their contagious positive attitudes about their work. When I pointed this out, they shared clever ways of staying positive and having fun while coping with the physical and mental hardships of their work.

Many donned ear buds and listened to music or podcasts saved on their iPhones while working. Some changed tasks frequently - even just changed the weed they were spraying - to avoid burn-out. More than a few used meditation and breathing techniques to stay in a positive mental space. One espoused practicing a Buddhist philosophy of living in the present, taking one day at a time, and repeating the mantra, "all of these mosquitoes will be dead in a few months!"
How do these seasonals stay so positive in the face of zillions of mosquito larvae?  Michaela (center) listens to music and podcasts while she works.
Matt (right) employs meditation and breathing techniques to stay cool and in the present moment.

We all face challenges in our work lives - some physical and some mental. When things get tough, the TCWP Summer 2017 Spray Crew reminds us to take some deep breaths, pop in our earbuds and listen to some cool tunes, and remind yourself, "this too shall pass."


Holy Mosquito! Challenges of 2017 Mosquito Season
The summer of 2017 promises to be a great one for mosquitoes, and a challenging one for those who attempt to control them. In particular, this year's extraordinarily high snowmelt runoff is coinciding with flood irrigation of hayfields and pastures, causing extensive flooding throughout the region.

We often have the luxury of staggering our mosquito control efforts on these two main sources of mosquito production in the valley - flooding from snowmelt and irrigation - but this year they are happening simultaneously, causing flooding of areas that have not seen water for decades. Unfortunately, these areas still harbor many years' worth of eggs laid by floodwater mosquitoes - eggs which are capable of withstanding frost, fire and even prolonged desiccation (up to 40 years' viability in some studies of Aedes vexans eggs) and can build up to significant numbers over time.

Our larvicide program targets mosquitoes in their larval stage with a protein derived from Bacillus thuringiensis, a soil bacterium, that is placed in water. Adults are controlled through fogging with pyrethrin-based compounds.

Regarding our efforts for this year, the focus right now is larviciding, or killing the immature aquatic stage of mosquitoes (larvae) using a product based on proteins derived from a soil bacterium. This has been and will continue to be the mainstay of our integrated mosquito management efforts. In areas where we do not have permission to apply larvicide and the mosquitoes mature into the winged adult form, we will use our truck-mounted ultra-low volume (ULV) sprayers on common area roadways to knock back the mosquito population. It is well understood that this method of mosquito control is much less effective than controlling the mosquitoes as larvae, but it does offer some relief if applied appropriately.
Seasonal spray crew member, Michaela, uses a dipper to check for the presence of larvae before treating this flooded pasture with larvicide.

 The most significant obstacle we face in the battle against mosquitoes is the impact of WY Statute 6-3-414, which requires us to obtain expressed written permission from every landowner before providing services on their property. Many landowners have responded to our letters, doorhangers, ads, and phone calls and we are very grateful for their cooperation and support. However, several key landowners with larval habitat have either not yet responded or have declined our mosquito control services, sometimes erroneously. Permission can be granted easily by completing our online form at: http://www.tcweed.org/permission.

Note that "Option A" grants permission for all of our services, including larviciding and fogging for adult mosquitoes. If one checks the unlabeled box below "Option A", they are indicating that they want all other services but DO NOT want us to fog for adults. Many landowners have checked this box by accident, when they actually DO want us to spray for adults. Selecting "Option B" on the form declines permission for any services.

Want to know how YOU can help? When spraying for adults, it is much more effective to spray an entire community rather than just one street or a portion of a street. Please make sure that YOU and everyone in your community have submitted a permission form, even if they are declining our services. We certainly honor any landowner's right to decline services, but it would be a shame to omit entire neighborhoods from spraying simply because a few of the landowners are unaware that they need to provide us permission first. Please get the word out and help us be as efficient as possible in our mosquito control efforts this year.

How Can You Avoid This???
Do you want us to spray mosquitoes on your property in Teton County? Have you completed a permission form allowing us to do so?
If not, please complete the ONE-TIME landowner permission form on our website so we can provide this service on your property.  Check that your neighbors have as well. 
Get text alerts when we spray mosquitoes in your area!
Fogging apparatus
Stay informed!
  Would you like to know when we will be in your area this summer fogging for adult mosquitoes by truck?  Sign up for our NEW text alert system!
mosquito22 to 313131
How to Spread the PlayCleanGo Message AND Win a Free GoPro!
Did you see the PlayCleanGo Giveaway last month? If you missed it, you missed out on the chance to win a GoPro Hero5!!! But never fear, another Giveaway is already in the works for later in the summer!

The GoPro Giveaway was sponsored by the Wyoming Weed & Pest Council with the goal of getting more people to view and share the recently developed PlayCleanGo videos that highlight mountain biking, trail running, ATV users and horseback riders. Contestants simply watched the series of videos featured on the Wyoming Weed and Pest Council Facebook page or Youtube channel, and each time they viewed and shared a video, they entered another e-ticket into the virtual raffle! With 940 entries, it was a great success!

The lucky winner was Wyoming native, Doug Spriggs. Originally from Lander and now living in Laramie, the Spriggs family spends a significant time outdoors: hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, and biking! Doug described their love of the outdoors:
"Being an adventurous group it is important for us as a family to protect the natural habitat of our land.  We are diligent in keeping our equipment clean and well maintained so as not to bring in any invasive species from other parts of the state or country for that matter.  We also take the time out of our day to pick up after others when we see trash and other objects that do not belong in nature.  As a photography enthusiast, I am always taking pictures of the land, working to capture the beauty as well as understand nature on a deeper level.  Often these photos lead to species identification, making sure that I stay educated on the difference between indigenous plants and invasive ones.  As a family, we do our best to help educate others on how to PlayCleanGo because it is important to keep our natural habitats in balance for the sake of our generation and future generations.  We are all called to be stewards of the land and invasive species do a significant amount of damage to the natural habitat of the area.  The damage caused by negligence and absentmindedness is often irreversible and in almost every case preventable.  PlayCleanGo is important for us all to enjoy the vast gift of the outdoors!"
Don't miss out on the next chance to win great prizes! We will share information once the new giveaway is live from our Facebook page. Be sure to connect with us so you don't miss it! You can find us at https://www.facebook.com/TetonCountyWeedandPest/.

You can find the WY Weed and Pest Council at
      How to PlayCleanGo on your ATV!                

Gros Ventres River Spray Days, July 18th-20th

July Board Meeting, Tuesday, July 25 from 12 - 2 

Visit our Event Calendar on our website for more info. 

Thank you for subscribing to the Teton County Weed and Pest District Newsletter. We hope that you find the information useful! If there are any topics that would be of interest to you, please email me your suggestions. 




Meta Dittmer
Teton County Weed and Pest District
7575 S. Hwy 89 Jackson, WY 83001