Woman advocates for better mosquito abatement in Natchez

Published 1:48 pm Wednesday, October 11, 2023

NATCHEZ — A Natchez woman, who spoke on behalf of several Natchez residents, complained this morning at the meeting of the Mayor and Board of Aldermen about the aerial spraying for mosquitos.

Karen Dardick moved to Natchez from Los Angeles in 2005.

“I am here because I am concerned about the recent changes in the aerial spraying for mosquitos,” Dardick said. “I am sure there is a better way of mosquito abatement. The problem has been in the last few weeks the spray has been so strong and has such a strong vile odor lingering that it has caused headaches, sore throats, nausea. A neighbor of mine was walking on the bluff at 7 a.m. on Friday morning and got sprayed, as did other citizens on the bluff.”

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Dardick, who worked as a garden writer specializing in environment articles the Los Angeles Times and other newspapers and was garden editor of California Homes magazine in California, offered a suggestion that the city form a citizens volunteer advisory council to educate the city staff and citizens on integrated mosquito management. She volunteered to serve on such a council.

“We know we have to control mosquitos. That’s not the issue. The issue is what is the best way to do it,” Dardick said.

Integrated mosquito management uses a combination of approaches to control the mosquito population, including the use of larvicides.

“You tackle the problem at the source, at the very beginning, by using larvicides like Bti, a harmless bacteria that kills the larvae stage of mosquitos,” Dardick said.

Next, she said, the city is divided off into sections or vectors and mosquito traps are used to determine the type of mosquitos present and their population. She said there are 17 different types of mosquitos.

“The population number of mosquitos will tell you is it is really necessary to spray.

And if spraying is taking place, some kind of communication is needed to citizens so they will know when and where it will take place,” Dardick said.

An avid gardener, she said, “I want my bees back. I have no honeybees in my garden at all. In previous years, the population was abundant.”

Dardick said she moved to Natchez because she fell in love with the community and she stays because she continues to love the community.

“One of the reasons I stay in Natchez is because it is so wonderful that I can come and address the like this. If I still lived in Los Angeles, I guarantee you this would not be possible.”

Aldermen and the mayor expressed their appreciation for Dardick and her preparation and research on the issue and Gibson said the city would follow up on her suggestions.

Also addressing the mayor and aldermen Tuesday was Dr. Ed Gaudet, who complained to the aldermen about a high-speed chase he witnessed while in Natchez Coffee Co.

Gaudet was referring to the city police and sheriff’s office efforts to catch Omari Smith, who escapes after breaking out a holding cell window at the Adams County Jail and fleeing.

Smith stole a car from a downtown resident, picked up his younger brother and when spotted, fled from police.

The chase ended when the pair crashed the stolen car into the woods on Col. John Pitchford Parkway on that Wednesday morning.

Gaudet called the chase criminal. He asked the aldermen to work with the city police to end high-speed chases in the city.

Ward 2 Aldermen Billie Joe Frazier said such chases are dangerous, but police officers make determinations on a case-by-case basis and were sometimes necessary.