Recent record rainfall followed by hot and humid temperatures has increased the mosquito population in Bedford and the region this week. The mosquitoes that have emerged are flood plain mosquitoes that emanate predominantly from the Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, located along the Concord River which forms the western Bedford town boundary. Great Meadows, a federal facility, does not allow the Town’s mosquito control partner, East Middlesex Mosquito Control Project (EMMCP), to conduct surveillance or mosquito control on the Refuge.
The following are frequently asked questions the Bedford Health Department has received from residents.
Answers were provided in collaboration with EMMCP.
1. What services does the EMMCP provide to the Town of Bedford?
Mosquito trapping and control services are provided to the Town of Bedford by the EMMCP. These services include annual (springtime, weather dependent) larviciding of select wetlands via helicopter and on foot, provision of larvicide for placement in catch basins, mosquito trapping from up to five locations in town, analysis of mosquitoes for the presence of disease, and truck-mounted spraying to control adult mosquitoes. For more information on the Project, its services, and pesticides used, please visit the EMMCP website at https://sudbury.ma.us/emmcp/
2. When is the next truck-mounted spraying scheduled?
Due to the recent increase in mosquito activity, EMMCP has been significantly increasing its services. The next truck-mounted spraying is scheduled for Monday, August 2, 2021, between sunset and 11:30 PM. This will be a town-wide spraying (except exclusions). If postponed, spraying will be rescheduled for the following week.
3. Once the spray is released from the truck, how long does it continue to kill mosquitoes?
The spray continues to kill mosquitoes for the time the spray is traveling through the air, which is typically a couple of minutes. The spray breaks down rapidly and does not leave a residue that kills mosquitoes.
4. How does the town gather information about mosquito populations?
There are five mosquito trap locations across town. All traps are routinely monitored by the EMMCP entomologist to determine mosquito counts, species types, and presence of disease. Data collected from the traps helps to determine spraying events and any additional mitigation needed. It was the detection of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (Tripe E) in traps collected from Bedford in 2019, that lead to an evening activity ban in town.
5. How does the spray kill mosquitoes?
The spray can travel up to 300 feet. The spray is a pyrethroid that affects the nervous system of the mosquito. Mosquitoes come into contact with the spray while flying in the air, which then causes them to fall to the ground.
6. Does the truck service all streets in Bedford?
Yes! The spray announcements list a representation of the streets in the target spray area on a given night, but the truck goes down all streets in Bedford that are included in the designated target area. Each spray event is mapped out with a target area based on the mosquito surveillance data from the traps. The truck services all the streets included in the target area for that specific spray event. The truck does not enter onto private property. Residents can exclude their property from being sprayed by the truck by navigating to: https://www.mass.gov/how-to/how-to-request-an-exclusion-or-opt-out-from-wide-area-pesticide-applications. EMMCP cannot spray within 300 feet of an excluded property.
7. What can I do to limit mosquitoes on my property?
Mosquito proof your property by eliminating sources of standing water on your property. Remove, dispose of, or turn over empty containers so they are unable to collect rainwater. Drill holes in the bottom of containers that are left outdoors so the water can drain out. Clean clogged roof gutters. Turn over plastic wading pools or wheel barrels when not in use. Keep swimming pools clean and properly chlorinated. Change the water in birdbaths every few days. Use landscaping to eliminate standing water that collects on your property. Cut shrubs and grass short to eliminate damp areas.
8. How can I protect myself and my family from mosquito bites?
Keep mosquitoes outside your home by installing tight-fitting screens on all windows and doors. Dusk to dawn is peak biting time for many mosquitoes. Consider rescheduling outdoor activities. Wear protective clothing such as long pants, long sleeve shirt, and socks. Use a repellent with DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide), permethrin, picaridin (KBR 3023), IR3535, or oil of lemon eucalyptus [p-methane 3, 8- diol (PMD)] according to the instructions on the product label. Keep animal or pet vaccinations and medications current.
For more information
Information about mosquito activity in Massachusetts during 2021 can be found on the Mosquito-borne Disease page on the MDPH website at https://www.mass.gov/mosquito-borne-diseases.
Additional information on Mosquito Services in Bedford and Mosquito-related materials are available by contacting the Bedford Health Department at 781-275- 6507 or by accessing the Health Department website at https://www.bedfordma.gov/health-department.