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The buzz on this year’s mosquito crop

The buzz on this year’s mosquito crop

The buzz on this year’s mosquito crop

Summer and wet weather bring mosquitoes, especially around Lake Dunmore and the floodplains of Otter Creek. This is why, in the late 1970s, Art Doty and others formed an insect control district to mitigate mosquitoes. The organization has changed over the years; Goshen, Pittsford and Proctor later joined the original trio of Brandon, Leicester and Salisbury.

Anyone interested in exploring his activities and recommendations should check out the website.

This spring has not been as wet as last year, and our operations coordinator also reported seeing small fish and many frogs in floodplain pools such as Pomaineville WMA between Pittsford and Brandon. This is good news: it means the floodplain ecosystem is recovering and developing a population of creatures that see mosquito larvae as food. This may reduce the need for treatment in some areas.

There have also been changes in personnel and policy at the state level in the Agriculture Agency that regulates pesticide use and oversees OCWICD. Last year, their concern about prior notification before adulticide treatments led the state to require a treatment program. The weather, however, is not subject to human scheduling, and the result was that many parts of the member cities were undertreated because the weather did not permit treatment on the scheduled days. This year, the programming requirement was dropped, but thresholds and frequency testing were adjusted.

Treatment for larvicide (ie using biological agents in water) and adulticide (spraying an ultra-low volume of chemicals that kill adult mosquitoes) requires sampling before treatment. OCW staff go out to designated locations to set traps (for 24 hours) or capture larvae in water with nets and mosquitoes in the air with larger nets. The state also required the district to equip its trucks with flow meters to measure and change the spray rate based on the truck’s speed.

The District is very grateful to the Lake Dunmore Fern Lake Association for a grant that covered the cost of this equipment. The district is now prepared to begin treatment as conditions permit.

It bears repeating – people can also do a lot to reduce their exposure to mosquitoes and protect themselves. Remove or treat all sources of standing water around your homes – this includes things like birdbaths, tires and gutters. Larvicidal products for garden features are readily available at most hardware stores. Spray clothing you wear outside the house with a product like permethrin (which also protects against ticks) and wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants. Adult mosquitoes are most active in the evening (hence the TOC spray at that time). More such information is available on the OCW website. This is also provided by city health officers through city newsletters and on city websites.

At this point, anyone who wishes not to be sprayed should have informed the district of that preference. Notices were published in newspapers and some forums in Front Prid. If you have not, the district advised, please do so promptly.