2004-06-25 / Community

FOR: Early Mosquito Problem This Summer

FOR: Early Mosquito Problem This Summer

The Friends of Rockaway (FOR), a local environmental group, has announced that there seems to be an early mosquito infestation in Rockaway this summer, particularly nearby Dubos Point in the Sommerville section of Arverne.

"There weren’t hundreds of mosquitoes, but there were enough to draw blood through my pants leg," says Bernard Blum, the FOR President. "This is the earliest that I have ever seen the problem in Rockaway."

Blum, who has been arguing for years that the ponds in Dubos Point should be cleared so that mosquitoes cannot breed there, called the city’s 311 help line to report the problem and

to see if anybody could identify the type of mosquito that Blum trapped in Arverne.

While the first call to 311 yielded no results, according to Blum, a second call got him to Dr. Farida Mahmood, the Assistant Commissioner of the Department of Health for Vector Surveillance.

Blum shipped the dead insect to her office for a check to make sure it was not carrying West Nile disease.

Mahmood contacted Blum to tell him that the mosquito was clean, a "nuisance mosquito," which is a DOH designation.

Mahmood told Blum that the mosquito problem at Dubos point and other places in Rockaway was being controlled by larvicide’s and traps.

"I pointed out to her that a standing water-filled trench dug by the Department of Sanitation during a weed-cleaning operation between Beach 53 Street and Beach 65 Street along DeCosta Avenue is a real problem and breeding ground," Blum says. He added that the sanitation department’s Jim Cafaro promised to fill in the trench as soon as possible.

"We really have to be careful," Blum says. "Even nuisance mosquitoes can become a health issue for the young and the elderly. We have to try better to reduce the mosquito population where it breeds."

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