The Project services include mosquito and wetland surveillance, larval and adult mosquito control, ditch maintenance, and public education. Each municipality, through it’s funding, determines the type and level of services to be offered in their community.
The objectives of the survey program are to identify and describe mosquito habitats, to quantify changes in the larval and adult mosquito populations caused by weather, and to provide documentation to support control programs.
The Project monitors the adult mosquito population through the use of carbon dioxide baited light traps at 54 sites within the district.
Helicopter larval control applications of Bti represent the largest program of the Project. Funding is available to control floodwater species each April and following flooding rains in the summer at a total of 3800 wetland acres in 15 communities. Notification to the public of this helicopter program is done through local daily and weekly newspapers and through this web page. Larval control at smaller wetlands is accomplished through ground applications of Bti that occurs in 24 of the Project’s communities. Project personnel use a truck mounted hydraulic sprayer or portable sprayers to apply Bti to wetland areas. Formulations of Bacillus sphaericus or time-release formulations of Altosid are applied by hand to roadside catchbasins in urban areas. The materials, Bti, Bacillus sphaericus and Altosid, which are applied to control mosquito larvae, are considered to be environmentally friendly and relatively non toxic. Residents do not need to take any special precautions due to the safety of these products and because they are applied directly to wetland areas or to catchbasins and not residential areas.
The adult mosquito control program utilizes truck mounted aerosol sprayers to apply a formulation containing the pesticide, Sumithrin, in neighborhood areas between dusk and 11 PM during the summer. Spraying is scheduled when survey traps indicate a high nuisance population of mosquitoes or when the Dept. of Public Health indicates that there is a risk of Eastern Equine Encephalitis. This wide area approach using the pesticide, Sumithrin, to control mosquitoes occurs in 9 of the Project’s communities. Sumithrin is a synthetic pyrethroid that is classified as slightly toxic by the EPA. The low application rate of .0024 lbs. of Sumithrin per acre that is the rate required to control mosquitoes does not pose a significant risk to people or their pets. Sumithrin is not a carcinogen nor has it been found to cause any other chronic health problem. As a general public health safety measure, if residents see a spray truck approaching, they are advised to go indoors for a couple minutes while the spray dissipates. Beekeepers do not need to take any special precautions since the spraying begins after dusk. Notification to the public of this program is done through newspaper press releases. Residents requesting further information regarding the spray program should contact the Project office at (781) 899-5730. Click here for information on the process to exclude your property from public spray programs.
If requested by a community, the Project will use a truck mounted aerosol sprayer or portable sprayer to provide adult mosquito control at a recreation area or prior to a public event. The portable sprayers use either Sumithrin or another synthetic pyrethroid, permethrin to control mosquitoes.
The ditch maintenance program is intended to remove sand, sediment and debris from existing ditches in order to provide a clear channel through wetlands for runoff from storm water or melting snow. The Project utilizes a Low ground pressure excavator to remove sand and sediment from ditches. This track-mounted excavator is specifically designed to work in wetland areas. Crews use hand tools including chain saws to remove fallen trees, limbs and other debris from ditches.
The Project’s public education program serves as a resource to residents, schools, municipal officials and the local media on controlling mosquitoes, breeding sites, mosquito borne diseases, biting flies and ticks. An educational program entitled “Insects and the Environment” is available for presentations at schools.
During risk periods of West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis, the Project may provide surveillance and mosquito control services under the direction of State and local health authorities, as specified by the Massachusetts Surveillance and Response Plan for Mosquito-Borne Disease.
The Project provides a variety of miscellaneous services that are in addition to the public education program. Other services may include inspections of wetlands and residential properties, deer tick surveys and construction of foot bridges along trails that are located in wetland areas.