Spring has finally arrived and with it, the warm weather and standing water that mosquitoes use to breed.
Sarah McGregor of Dragon Mosquito in Stratham, the contractor Londonderry uses for mosquito control, said the swamps are still melting, but in areas that have standing water, her crews are looking for the larvae of mosquitoes.
“We were able to find quite a few mosquito larvae in the water already,” she said. “It looks like the stage is set for a pretty healthy population of mosquitoes. It’s too early to tell exactly what the season will be like, but generally when we have a lot of snow in the winter we see a lot of mosquitoes in the spring.”
McGregor said her crews have started surveying and sampling the water and then they will probably start treating the water next week.
“Any spraying, per se, like we did last season for EEE (Eastern Equine Encephalitis), wouldn’t occur until late in the summer, if it occurs at all,” she said. “We start treating the wetlands any day now. We monitor these sites through the summer right into October.”
“When it rains, that will trigger another generation of mosquito larvae, so we have to treat repeatedly in some areas,” she added. “Some mosquitoes only have one generation a year and others have multiple generations, and the species that have multiple generations tend to be those that are involved in the EEE and West Nile virus cycle.”
McGregor said it is not possible to test the larvae for diseases.
“Only the adult mosquitoes can be tested for the diseases, so we’re killing the larvae in the water and then beginning in July we’ll start trapping the adult mosquitoes,” she explained. “We send those to the state lab in Concord and they test them for EEE and West Nile virus. Based on those test results, that may trigger spraying at schools and parks and athletic fields.”
She acknowledges that the mosquitoes that hatch in the spring can be annoying. Right after black fly season ends, the mosquitoes come out, and while they are not the disease-carrying mosquitoes, they are a nuisance. “Don’t start worrying until July at the earliest,” McGregor said.
Londonderry Building and Health Inspector Richard Canuel said that in the past three years they sprayed because of a disease discovered in a neighboring community.
“We also spray if there’s going to be a large gathering of people, like Old Home Day,” Canuel said.
Dragon Mosquito Control notes that residents who do not want their wetlands treated may use the company’s No-Spray Registry online at www.DragonMosquito.com/No-Spray-Registry or write to Dragon Mosquito Control, P.O. Box 46, Stratham, NH 03885. Residents are asked to include their name, physical address, phone number and description of the property with boundaries. Residents who want their stagnant water checked for mosquitoes may call the Dragon office at 734-4144 or email Info@DragonMosquito.com. There is no charge for this service. Residents can also contact Dragon to find out if their area has been treated.
“Even though we do larvacides and spraying applications when necessary, I would caution everyone to take their own personal precautions by limiting their outdoor activities from dusk to dawn and use proper repellants, things of that nature,” Canuel said. “Clean up any yard items that may collect water, bird baths, things like that. Even an overturned bucket that may have a small amount of water on the underside still provides enough water for mosquitoes to lay their eggs.”