2011 Mosquito Control
Recent precipitation and the rise in the water table have resulted in high levels of mosquito activity, particularly in areas of town abutting wetlands and receding river flood waters. Since May 1, 2011, the Health Department has received over 200 calls and emails from residents. In response, staff has performed field analyses, spraying and larviciding in the areas of town where mosquito infestation is the most severe. Ultra-low volume (ULV) back-pack spraying, and soon, truck-mounted spraying are being conducted in severely infested areas of town. The ability to spray is dependent upon weather conditions. High winds or continual rainfall diminish the effectiveness of adulticide, and at least two days of fair weather are necessary for optimal knockdown and barrier effect. The Public Works Department is treating town catch
basins with larvicide dunks when there are breaks in the rainy weather. Additional spraying and larvicide treatments will be scheduled based on field observations. The Health Department is also watchful of mosquito activiity that could affect scheduled public events. Streets where ULV spraying will be conducted are posted in ad advance to notify residents before conducting backpack spraying near their property.
Mayor Marcia Leclerc said, "Residents should take personal protective measures, including the reduction of time spent outdoors at dawn and dusk in heavily infested areas, the elimination of standing water, wearing long sleeves and pants and the prudent use of insect repellants. To report a high level of mosquito activity at your residence, contact the Health Department at 291-7324."
Health Director Jim Cordier added, "The Health Department and its contracted professionals will use this information to target their abatement campaign activities. Please note that we do not have the resources to spray private property. We attempt to protect residents by larviciding our storm drain system and by applying fog and spray buffers on state and town-owned watercourse and wetland properties that abut neighborhoods and local parks. This helps block mosquito movement into inland residential areas."
With the assistance of Innovative Mosquito Management and the Public Works Department, the Health Department is making an earnest effort to reduce the possibility of residents contracting West Nile Virus or Eastern Equine Encephalitis.
The public can assist the Health Department with this effort in two ways, by reducing container breeding on private property and by taking personal protective measures. The Health Department asks all residents to walk around their yard and check for standing water. Typical problem areas that collect water are clogged gutters, tarps, rain barrels, children's toys, lawn ornaments and flower pots. As little as a teaspoon of water left standing for more than four days will allow mosquitoes to begin their breeding cycle. Residents should actively empty all standing water until the first killing frost. Container breeding mosquitoes do not normally fly more than two blocks from the place where they were produced. Dumping out standing water from items in your yard may spare you from being bitten by mosquitoes a week later. If you
are aware of any standing water in your neighborhood that is not property addressed, such as a stagnant pool, please report the situation to the Health Department at 860-291-7324. You may remain anonymous.
If you own a pool that is not in operation or have standing water on your property that cannot be drained, you may purchase "mosquito dunks" containing larvicide from the Health Department for $3. In addition to reducing the number of mosquitoes by removing standing water, residents can avoid exposure to mosquitoes by limiting the time spent outside between one hour before and one hour after sunset.
Repellents are also recommended to avoid mosquito bites if you spend time outside in the evening. Consumer Reports recently compared mosquito and deer tick repellents and recommended several containing 15-30% DEET. A repellent containing oil of lemon eucalyptus and one with 20% picaridin as active ingredients were also recommended. The American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend use of repellents containing more than 30% DEET for children. It is unlikely to be beneficial for most residents to use DEET in concentrations above 30%.
Mayor Marcia Leclerc said, "Reducing the risk of West Nile Virus and other mosquito-borne diseases in our community is an important public health issue. Success in this effort requires collaboration between Town departments, contractors and residents. Please take the time to participate in this effort and check your yard for standing water."