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Officials Look To Wildlife To Help Curb Mosquito Population

Posted at 6:18 PM, Jul 20, 2016

Most of the wildlife at Dunbar Cave State Park has lived near the water's edge of Swan Lake; however, there has been one fish thriving beneath the surface: thousands of minnows.

"Ten thousand is all I had money for. You got to start somewhere, and that's where we decided to start," Park Ranger Allen Fenoseff said. 

Fenoseff has managed the park. Like many this time of year, mosquitoes and the viruses they can carry have been on his mind.

"Hearing everything on the news, I'd much rather put minnows in the lake than go with a chemical type of spray or anything like that, try to keep it natural. The state park policy is go green when possible," he said. 

Minnows will not only provide a food source for future fish, but they'll also feed on mosquito larva. It may be a bit unconventional, but so far it seems to be working.

"Actually I haven't now that you mentioned it, I haven't been bit yet," said park goer, Shelia Magno.  

"There's not a lot of mosquitoes on our park, at least I haven't known any way," said Fenoseff. 

Minnows likely aren't the only wildlife to take credit for that. Inside Dunbar Cave bats thrive, but during the day, rangers and park goers look to another flying animal for insect repellent.  

"Put purple martin houses on our park, brings in purple martins which eat mosquitos. We have barn swallows. We put humming bird feeders in the park recently to bring in humming birds, which also need insects to live," Fenoseff said. 

The City of Clarksville has also been looking to wildlife to help eliminate the mosquito population. On the Greenway Trails, the city has installed bat boxes. 

"As always, the safety and health of our citizens is our number one priority,” said Clarksville Mayor Kim McMillan.  “We also have hundreds of City employees who work outdoors and we want to be sure they are taking precautions to be safe at work.”