July 29, 2008

Mosquito Control Costs on the Rise

By Sherry Koonce, The Port Arthur News, Texas

Jul. 29--BEAUMONT -- By Sherry Koonce

The News staff writer

BEAUMONT -- Increased fuel costs combined with a decrease in the production of some herbicides has county officials refiguring the cost of controlling the area's mosquito population.

On Monday, Jefferson County Commissioners voted to amend a Mosquito Control District contract for the purchase of insecticides, herbicides and sprays.

For the purchase of Roundup, a petroleum-based weedkiller used by the mosquito district, the cost has soared from $12.15 per gallon to $34 per gallon.

Weed-Hoe, another herbicide product the county uses in its fight against mosquitoes, saw less of an increase, from $14.50 a gallon to $15.30 per gallon.

While most of the cost increase can be attributed to the rising cost of oil, the 2008 Summer Olympic Games played a part in the price change, Deb Clark, Jefferson County interim purchasing agent, said.

According to Clark, Weed-Hoe's manufacturing plant in China, has closed temporarily because of air-quality issues

"The plant has closed while the Chinese are trying to control their air quality because of the Olympics," Clark said.

While the costs have increased, dry weather patterns have impeded the growth of weeds. Clark said if the low moisture continues, the county's mosquito district will not have to use as much herbicide as in year's past. Dry weather will also cut down on the actual mosquito population since the insects thrive in wet, vegetative areas.

In other matters, County Commissioners approved re-appointments to various boards. Steven Hale was re-appointed to the Spindletop Mental Health Mental Retardation board of trustees; Ronnie Anderson, Jeanette Holmes, James McNicholas, Jeff Branick and James Wimberly to the Jefferson County Housing Finance Corporation Board of Directors; and Jimmie Grimes and Walter Lucas to the Jefferson County Emergency Services District No. 1 Board of Commissioners for a one-year term.

Contact this reporter at [email protected]


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