Mosquitoes have been overtaking many areas Pine Bluff in recent days. Mayor Shirley Washington said on Friday that she is working with other officials to formulate an action plan.
Heavy rainfall that caused flash flooding two weeks ago, along with the additional rain this weekend, created ample breeding ground for the insects, the mayor said.
“We have had lots of calls from citizens,” Washington said on Friday.
She mentioned Regional Park’s golf course and the Jaycees course at MLK Park as areas that were “particularly bad.”
Washington and Jefferson County Judge Booker Clemons are planning a meeting on Tuesday morning with other local officials to discuss the issue. Meanwhile, Clemons said county crews have begun spraying at the golf courses and some other areas that have seen the worst infestations.
Currently, the city doesn’t have anyone spraying for mosquitoes on a regular basis, although Washington said that $6,000 is annually allocated in the budget for mosquito abatement. The Jefferson County Health Department used to take on the task but stopped. Clemons said the equipment the Health Department used for spraying mosquitoes is currently in storage.
The judge said the county has an additional two trucks that are equipped with mosquito-spraying equipment. The county sprays in areas on an as-needed basis.
Neither Washington nor Clemons said they knew why the Health Department stopped spraying, but both pledged that a new plan to attack mosquitos will be formulated during Tuesday’s meeting.
“I just want to let our citizens know that we are working on this issue,” Washington said. “This year, the mosquito problem is much worse than it has been. I’ve never had calls like this since I have been in office the past two years. We need to spray ditches and other areas where they might breed. We are also working on cutting high grass that’s in many parts of the city.”