[The following message was sent by Stacey King, Admin. Assist./Recycling Coordinator, Department of Public Works – (via NCPCA listserve) ]
The mosquito control program for 2010 has begun in College Park and will continue through the summer; the Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) has already begun the attack by spreading larvicide granules in some of the low-lying wooded areas that hold water for long periods of time and are known mosquito breeding areas. Spraying for adult mosquitoes will start soon on Wednesday nights. Mosquito problems and spray requests must be made by residents in order for MDA to conduct surveys, and adult thresholds must be met and weather must be conducive for spraying to occur.
I am sure everyone has noticed at least one or two mosquitoes out by now, so this is a reminder to please forward this email to College Park residents and encourage them to contact me regarding mosquito complaints. I will report the information on a weekly basis to the Entomologist in charge of our program, so residents experiencing mosquito problems, want to put in a spray request, or have a spray objection, please call me directly at 240-487-3593, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will need the following important pieces of information from residents reporting complaints:
1. Name and address
2. Problem area(s)
3. Time of day mosquitoes are worse, and
4. Any areas of stagnant water to report
Now is also a good time to remind everyone that the spraying, when it occurs, is conducted overnight and is to help control the native mosquito populations; spraying is not effective against the Asian tiger mosquito, which is active mostly during the day, is aggressive (will follow you into the house or car), and only breeds in contained water. The best way to really control this mosquito is to eliminate its breeding habitat – containerized standing water. What do I mean by containerized standing water? Here are some examples:
· bird baths,
· wading pools,
· gutters that haven’t been cleaned,
· corrugated landscape pipe,
· rain barrels,
· free-standing basketball hoops (fill them with sand instead of water!),
· toys (child or dog toys left alone will most likely collect water, even playground equipment),
· upside-down or empty containers,
· tarps that sag or are too big for the items they’re covering (any fold created in the tarp will hold enough water for mosquitoes to breed, so think about that wood pile or boat you have covered up!),
· trays under flower pots,
· tire swings and loose tires
Look around your yard (and work with your neighbors!) to help eliminate these and the other endless sources of items that will hold just a few drops of water, which is all the Asian tiger mosquito needs. Make sure your gutters are cleared, and tip out or flush bird baths, pools, and other containers that hold water. Jeannine Dorothy, the Entomologist in charge of our program, has also offered to make house calls and help residents identify potential mosquito breeding areas, but she needs to have groups of at least 6 houses agree. The Asian tiger mosquito can fly up to a football field in distance, so even if your yard is clear of breeding opportunities, all of your neighbors need to make an effort as well in order to have a noticeable effect.
Additionally, we have mosquito dunks (donut-shaped larvicide granules) available at Public Works for College Park residents to pick up at no charge to help treat any areas of standing water (particularly bird baths, rain barrels, ornamental ponds that don’t have fish, etc.), and prevent mosquito larvae from maturing to the adult stage.
So, don’t forget to report problems or questions to me; I don’t know all the answers when it comes to mosquito control but I will find answers for you. Finally, please feel free to visit the MDA website on Mosquito Control to learn more about these summertime pests and how we can attempt to reduce the troubles they cause us: http://www.mda.state.md.us/plants-pests/mosquito_control/index.php