2005-06-17 / Front Page

Mosquito Spraying Monday Night

By Brian Magoolaghan

Pesticide spraying in the peninsula’s mosquito-plagued areas is scheduled for Monday night, and officials are asking for the public’s help in this round of the battle to beat the skeeters.

The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene announced this week that spraying in the Arverne, Somerville, Edgemere and Bayswater communities would begin Monday, June 20, at about 8:30 p.m. Edgemere Park and the landfill area will also be targeted.

As long-suffering residents know, the spring and summer air in those spots is often thick with the blood-sucking pests.

Dr. Edgar Butts, DOHMH Assistant Commissioner, told The Wave that between five and seven trucks will be used in the operation. They will be escorted by police and observed by monitors from the Department of Environmental Protection.

Spraying to reduce the number of mosquitoes was scheduled, Butts said, because local mosquito traps and documented complaints suggest that remediation is necessary.

So, how can you help if you live in the affected areas? Close your windows, turn off the air conditioners, and stay off the street.

“If people are walking down the sidewalk we have to stop,” Butts said. “We don’t want you to be exposed to pesticide, we want to kill mosquitoes.”

If you are exposed, wash your skin and clothes immediately, Butts said.

Community Board 14 District Manager Jonathan Gaska said entire blocks have been skipped in the past because there were too many people outside.

“People wouldn’t go inside and they won’t spray on your block unless you go inside,” Gaska said.

Butts said the entire spray effort should take two to three hours, depending on how many sprayer trucks are available.

The pesticide that will be used, Sumithrin, is used in small quantities and “exhibits very low mammalian toxicity, degrades very rapidly in sunlight, provides little or no residual activity, and does not bio-accumulate in the environment,” according to DOHMH literature.

Spraying could be delayed if the weather is unfavorable. A successful spraying is dependent on dry weather, air temperatures above 60 degrees and wind below 10 mph., according to Butts.

The spraying, which targets adult mosquitoes, is part of a program that also includes the use of larvicide to kill mosquitoes before they develop.

Residents should note an improvement almost immediately.

“The next day they should see a difference,” Butts said.

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