Without enough money to pay $4,400 for a drum of insecticide - much less another about $8,000 for overtime, fuel, and other costs - Northwood will not spray for mosquitoes this year after its current supply runs out.
Cash-strapped Northwood, however, will continue to use larvicide in the city's catch basins to prevent mosquitoes from hatching, Pat Bacon, Northwood city administrator, told City Council members last week. Council opted not to buy more insecticide this year.
Mosquito control has not benefited all Northwood taxpayers, since commercial and rural areas have not been sprayed, Mrs. Bacon noted. A 55-gallon drum of insecticide is enough to cover residential neighborhoods 11 times, she said.
Northwood is not the only community that has curbed mosquito control.
Budget problems forced Rossford to cut back on its mosquito control program a few years ago, and spraying is not done on a regular basis. Both the chemicals and employee overtime are expensive, said Ed Ciecka, Rossford's administrator.
"We do it as funds are available and as the problem becomes exacerbated," said Mr. Ciecka, adding the city sprays before special events.
He said: "We typically will spray when it gets really bad and we're getting a lot of complaints."
Clay Center, Genoa, Pemberville, and Walbridge are among local communities, meanwhile, that are continuing their mosquito control programs. The tax-funded Toledo Area Sanitary District takes care of mosquito control throughout Lucas County.
Mosquitoes have long been pesky, but local efforts to control them became more critical with the arrival of West Nile virus. In 2002, Michigan and Ohio had the second- and third-largest number, respectively, of human West Nile virus cases nationwide, totaling 1,055 for both states.
Ohio had two nonfatal human cases of West Nile virus last year, including one in Whitehouse in a man who had traveled to Colorado shortly before becoming ill. Michigan had one nonfatal human cases of West Nile virus last year.
In Genoa, the village sprays for adult mosquitoes at least once a week and routinely uses pellets to control larvae hatching in standing water and elsewhere, said Kevin Gladden, Genoa's public works director.
Genoa's mosquito control program costs $5,000 to $8,000 a year, depending on how wet the season is, he said. "It can be costly, but … we're still in the Black Swamp," Mr. Gladden said. "The mosquitoes are like airplanes overhead."