The Kentucky Department of Agriculture will take mosquito eradication efforts to the air.
Ag officials plan to spray about 133,249 acres in Western Kentucky around Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley, which have been hit by heavy rains this spring. The wet weather has created an ideal breeding environment for mosquitoes.
"The infestation is beyond the capability of the Kentucky Department of Agriculture to control from the ground," Agriculture Commissioner James Comer said. "This is a serious problem for our friends in Western Kentucky, and we want them to know that help is on the way."
A state entomologist visited the region recently to gauge the problem, and based on that assessment, the state will hire private contractors to spray two miles around the lakes between the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers to the north and U.S. 68 to the south.
No special precautions are necessary, said officials with Clarke, the company providing the spray. The specific chemical being used was not identified in the announcement.
Comer will speak at a town hall meeting in Trigg County at 9 a.m. Tuesday at the Renaissance Center in Cadiz to answer questions and discuss the plan.
The KDA sprays for mosquitoes at the request of local officials; the insecticides are rigorously tested and degrade quickly, according to the KDA.
In fiscal year 2012, the department spent $45,000 on mosquito treatment; $63,000 was budgeted for fiscal year 2013. The aerial spraying will be in addition to normal costs, according to the KDA.
Janet Patton: (859) 231-3264. Twitter: @janetpattonhl.