They're baaaack! Mosquitoes, the bane of every backyard barbecue, are indeed back with a vengeance, spurred on by sizzling heat and heavy rains.

They're baaaack!

Mosquitoes, the bane of every backyard barbecue, are indeed back with a vengeance, spurred on by sizzling heat and heavy rains.

With peak mosquito season upon us, the city of Pickerington has recently embarked on its summer mosquito eradication program.

Spraying will conclude in the fall with the arrival of lower temperatures.

A city maintenance crew will fog spray for mosquitoes between the hours of 4 and 6 a.m. with the spray areas geographically bisected.

Areas of the city located north of the Norfolk Southern Railroad tracks will undergo spraying on Monday and Tuesday mornings while those areas south of the tracks will be sprayed Wednesday, Thursday and Friday mornings.

"The way the city is laid out using the railroad tracks as a dividing line is the best landmark so residents know where to expect spraying to occur," said Ed Drobina, city services director.

"The weather plays a role in whether we spray or not," he said.

"If it's raining or the wind is blowing, we do not spray."

Drobina said the city sprays with an environmentally-friendly product called "PyroFos" which is a vector control insecticide.

"It is applied with a fogging unit, the chemical is heated which turns the chemical into a fog, a blower then blows the fog into the air and droplets are formed, similar to a light mist," Drobina said.

Although Pickerington does have a health services contract with Franklin County Public Health, it does not cover mosquito control.

Pickerington chose to pass on an offer from Franklin County to provide mosquito eradication services this year.

Although Franklin County conducts a more comprehensive mosquito control program in terms of mosquito trapping and West Nile Virus testing, Pickerington City Council's Safety Committee opted to take care of business in-house, saving more than $9,000 in the process.

Mitzi Kline of Franklin County Public Health said nine other entities out of 40 in its service area also declined services.

She said while testing for West Nile Virus is valuable, "personal protection is your only personal guarantee."

"Wearing mosquito repellent and emptying standing water go a long way towards protecting yourselves," Kline said.

"We say that to any resident," she said.

Violet Township Director of Operations Bill Yaple said the township can't legally contract with Franklin County, so it also conducts its own spraying program.

"We do it on an 'as-need' basis," Yaple said, "probably once every two weeks.

"I know (the mosquitoes) are bad right now," he said.

Yaple said the township publishes spraying locations on its Facebook page.

"We let (residents) know when we do it," he said.

"Some people request notification if pets and children are effected by it," Yaple said.

Pickerington officials are advising residents who might be sensitive to fog spraying to keep all of their windows closed.

Drobina said with only one fogging unit, the city rotates its employees to do the job.

"We are doing blanket coverage, but the areas that need more than others are areas that are heavily shaded or have a lot of standing water," he said.

The city is required to record where it sprays, the weather conditions and the amount of chemical used each time it sprays, said Drobina.

More information about the mosquito control program can be obtrained by calling the Pickerington Service Department at 614-833-2292.