Mosquitoes have been a concern for the Utah State Correctional Facility (USCF) in Salt Lake since July 2022, when the facility began housing incarcerated individuals. While mosquitoes and other biting insects are always a nuisance in remote wetland areas, such as the site that USCF occupies, the influx of incarcerated individuals, UDC staff, and the facility’s infrastructure have all acted as attractants for even more mosquitoes. This makes abatement efforts essential for maintaining the well-being and safety of our incarcerated population and staff.
Thanks to the support of Utah’s legislators, $300,000 was approved this year in additional funds to address mosquito abatement at USCF.
UDC’s facilities team – which maintains the Department’s facilities – and the Salt Lake City Mosquito Abatement District (SLCMAD) have stepped in to provide assistance and expertise. The district’s experience has been crucial in helping the UDC develop an effective abatement plan.
Earlier this year, UDC communications specialist Liam Truchard spoke in-depth with Salt Lake City Abatement’s education specialist, Michele Rehebin, along with UDC’s Facilities Director, Shawn Anderson.
“Collaboration is the big key,” said Rehebin. “We are communicating with everybody to make sure we each know what we are supposed to be doing and how we can accomplish these different types of activities.”
You can hear the full discussion on the UDC’s Youtube page here: https://youtu.be/X4n49Q9mnj0
As temperatures rise and standing water collects around the facility, the mosquito problem is expected to become more severe. One of the most important steps in the abatement process is larviciding. According to the National Institute of Health, larviciding refers to the regular application of chemical or microbial insecticides to water bodies or water containers to kill the aquatic immature forms of the mosquito (the larvae and pupae).
Training will be provided to staff, who will be carrying out the process. Larvicide will be used in storm drains throughout USCF, killing mosquito larvae before they can grow into adults. Another method in the abatement plan is the implementation of traps on facility grounds.
The SLCMAD is identifying species and potential breeding sites at the facility and surrounding areas. The elimination of standing water sources like puddles, ponds, and drainages should be an effective way to reduce the source of mosquitoes.
“Mosquito abatement is a critical component of public health, especially in areas with particularly large mosquito populations,” said Spencer Turley, assistant deputy executive director with UDC. “The collaboration between SLCMAD and USCF staff is an excellent example of how agencies can work together to address public health concerns. We truly value this partnership and the positive impact it will have on our facility, staff, and incarcerated population.”
As the spring and summer seasons approach, mosquito abatement efforts will continue to be a priority at the USCF. With the combined efforts of the UDC and SLCMAD, officials hope that the mosquito problem will be effectively controlled, and incarcerated individuals and staff can enjoy a safe and healthy environment.
After approval last year through both UDC’s medical and prison operations teams, mosquito repellant continues to be available for incarcerated individuals through commissary.