PITTSFORD — The local mosquito control district will soon have a new leader.
Mike Blaisdell, Pittsford’s representative to the Brandon-Leicester-Salisbury-Goshen Insect Control District (BLSG), was voted in as chairman on Nov. 7. He’ll begin his one-year term in January.
The chairman had been Ben Lawton, who led the district for many years. Blaisdell said in an interview Wednesday he believes Lawton will serve as an alternate representative for the town of Goshen.
The BLSG is a municipal entity that formed in 1978 to control mosquito populations, after a particularly bad year for them made national headlines. Pittsford has since become a town sending representatives to the BLSG board, while the district also serves Proctor.
Blaisdell said he was appointed to be Pittsford’s representative to the district in 2017.
“The position was made available on the town newsletter, and I’m really into the environment and I don’t like mosquitoes, like the rest of us,” Blaisdell said.
Blaisdell works as a carpenter, is from Rutland and has lived in Pittsfield for six years, he said.
“It was actually a really big learning curve,” he said about joining the BLSG board. “I was already pretty versed in biology and chemistry and stuff, so that came pretty easy, it was the different permitting and the way the district was run that took a good few meetings before I started to get the hang of it. I would say within a year I had a pretty good grasp.”
When he began, the district didn’t do much with public relations and getting its message out to the community beyond being involved in the Brandon Fourth of July parade.
“Now it’s grown to Pittsford Day, Brandon parade, the Lake Dunmore Association Picnic, so that’s moving to bigger places,” he said. “My biggest thing is public knowledge of the district and getting as much information out as possible. There’s a lot of people that still have questions about how the district works, what it is exactly that we do, and how we do it.”
The BLSG is a municipal district that holds public meetings. It gets its funding from member towns and some aid from the state. It uses two main types of products to kill mosquitoes. One is a larvicide, a bacteria that kills mosquitoes in their larval stage. The other is referred to as adulticide, which is more of a traditional pesticide used to kill adult mosquitoes.
Blaisdell said he has no intention or desire to halt the district’s use of adulticide, but wants to see the BLSG explore other methods where possible.
“I feel we could be working a little more towards environmental areas,” he said. “Me, personally I practice organic gardening. I will never apply adulticide even though I do see the need for it, I’m one of those types of people. I’m not big on fertilizers or any of that, but I also know where the world would be today without pesticides, fertilizers, vaccines and GMOs, but I feel there could be a different approach to everything and the way things have been done. We’re still going to be doing the adulticide, I would just like to explore more things like putting bat houses along the wetlands and trying to use the environment more to our advantage to help biologically control mosquitoes.”
He said that Lawton and BLSG Vice Chairman Jeff Whiting have donated an enormous amount of time and effort to coordinating the district over the years, and with Lawton stepping back, the district has decided to hire a full-time coordinator. It’s a line item in this year’s budget, which will be sent to member towns this week.