Sarasota News Leader


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Matt Smith, mosquito manager for Sarasota County, holds a chicken named Mellow Yellow. Mellow Yellow, however, has not been living up to his name on this particular morn- ing. He has been acting a little unruly with his fellow fowl in one of the county's 13 sentinel chicken flocks. F i n a l l y, h e s e t t l e s down in Smith's arms. Mellow Yellow really has no reason to be tense, even though he has an important job. He and the other sentinel chickens are used to detect for mosquito-borne diseases such as West Nile Virus, St. Louis Encephalitis and Eastern Equine Encephalitis. Each county flock has five to eight chickens, and those flocks are spread out among sites near schools, wastewater plants, swamps and parks — typical mosquito breeding grounds. "The viruses do not hurt the chickens," S m i t h s a i d . T h e i r i m m u n e s y s t e m s Matt Smith, mosquito manager for Sarasota County, holds one of the county's sentinel chickens. All photos by Roger Drouin MORE THAN SPRAYING We want to do what we can to make sure what we are doing [to control mosquitos] is not harming the environment. Matt Smith Mosquito Manager Sarasota County By Roger Drouin County Editor WITH PEAK MOSQUITO SEASON UNDER WAY, THE COUNTY'S MOSQUITO MANAGER USES A VARIETY OF APPROACHES TO DEAL WITH THE REGULAR TINY BITERS AND MONITOR FOR THE POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS ONES

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