As the 20th season of Friday After 5 continues, hosts are hoping to cut down on certain uninvited guests. Namely, mosquitoes. The Owensboro Convention Center has partnered with Mosquito Joe to make outdoor events more pleasant for downtown visitors along the riverwalk.
“Last year at Friday After 5, mosquitoes were very noticeable at the pier,” says Owensboro Mosquito Joe franchise owner, Ben Clark. So last week, Mosquito Joe sprayed the patio area at RiverPark Center and along the riverfront behind the Convention Center and Holiday Inn. “What we’re doing is creating a barrier for Friday After 5 crowds,” Clark explained. “It’s scientifically proven that spraying a perimeter where you don’t want mosquitoes is effective in preventing them.”
As a result, this past Friday night mosquitoes and bugs were much less noticeable at the pier.
“I think it’s very effective. It certainly helps,” said Dean Dennis, Owensboro Convention Center General Manager. “We want to do everything we can to make things more enjoyable for our patrons at Friday After 5, and all our other events as well.”
In that sense, the partnership has been a win-win so far. Clark called the partnership a good fit for Mosquito Joe because it matches their goal to “make outside fun again,” which is also their slogan. “There’s been a lot of time, money, and effort spent on our downtown, so if we can help people enjoy our downtown more, we want to do that.”
With increasing concerns about the Zika virus, especially in pregnant women, this summer is an opportune time for the Convention Center and Mosquito Joe to team up. “We want this to be a safe zone for families. Hopefully, expectant mothers can now have a little more peace of mind at Friday After 5 or anytime they enjoy the riverfront at night,” Clark added.
Other cities in the commonwealth, including Louisville and Lexington, have sprayed for mosquitoes because of concerns about the Zika virus. Clark says the Center for Disease Control (CDC) is still studying the virus because more cases are popping up in America. But so far, cases in Kentucky are from people who have traveled overseas, contracted it, and carried it back to this region. “We’re still not sure if it is transferable or not, but the CDC is starting to be concerned.”
The mixture Mosquito Joe sprayed downtown was a formula specifically designed for the riverfront. Clark worked with product specialists to research mixtures used by other Mosquito Joe franchises in Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Texas that have weather patterns similar to Kentucky and high volumes of water. Now Clark says they’ve perfected the mixture rate and tweaked some other details to be highly effective in Kentucky. “We’ve got our spray dialed in. Now that we’re in our second year, we’ve taken what we learned last year and made our product even more effective this year.”
Mosquito Joe’s application targets the three biggest nuisances: mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas, but also reduces other insects. Most importantly, the mixture is completely harmless to humans and pets. It also does not kill pollinators like bees and butterflies.
But the unique advantage of Mosquito Joe’s product, according to Clark, is the adhesive component in the spray, which allows the application to work for approximately 21 days. It kills on contact, but it also adheres to trees, shrubs, grass, and buildings. Rain won’t wash it away. Only heat breaks it down.
Find a full Friday After 5 schedule here.