Illustration showing the anatomy of a mosquito. (Illustration: Mariana Ruiz Villarreal)
ANNAPOLIS (May 26, 2016)—The Maryland Department of Agriculture's truck-based adult mosquito control spray operation is underway and will continue throughout mosquito season. The department began spraying participating Eastern Shore and Southern Maryland communities earlier this week. More statewide spraying will begin next week. Each year, the department works with about 2,500 communities in 16 counties across the state to survey and monitor mosquito populations and implement appropriate control activities.
"The primary goal of this program is to prevent the occurrence of mosquito-borne disease in humans, pets and livestock," said Agriculture Secretary Joe Bartenfelder. "With the threat of Zika virus in Maryland, our spraying operations have never been more necessary. This is major public health concern, and it is important for all Marylanders to remember that we are here to help."
Most spraying is done in response to increasing populations of mosquitoes emerging from low lying freshwater wetlands. This emergence of mosquitoes is typical this time of year and coincides with the longer and warmer days of spring.
Concern over local transmission of Zika virus may lead to an increase the department's spray activity. If there is a high risk of Zika virus transmission due to suspect mosquito activity or a human case of Zika, the department, in cooperation with state and local health officials, will spray for adult mosquitoes within 24-48 hours in a prescribed area of concern to kill any adult mosquitoes that may be carrying the virus. Then, inspectors will go door-to-door in the area to inspect properties for mosquito breeding sites and conduct residual spraying that will reduce adult mosquito populations during the infectious period.
All citizens should dump, drain or treat all items in their yard that will collect rainwater, every three or four days. Mosquitoes that could potentially carry Zika breed in these containers. These mosquitoes fly approximately 150 yards in their entire lives. If we eliminate all locations where they could breed, the threat of disease transmission and nuisance complaints can be cut substantially.
Unscheduled spraying is posted on the department's Mosquito Control webpage and on the @MdAgMosquito and @MdAgDept Twitter accounts. Visit the department's Zika website for tips on ridding your property of mosquito breeding zones, preventing mosquito bites and more.
Communities Can Sign Up to Participate
Lists of communities participating in the mosquito control program along with their weekly spray night are posted on our website by county and will be posted as they are finalized. The Maryland Department of Agriculture is currently accepting applications to participate in the mosquito adulticide program. Communities interested in participating in the program should call the department's regional offices. On the Eastern Shore, call the Salisbury office at 410-543-6626; Southern Maryland residents can call 301-373-4263; Central and Western Maryland residents can call 301-422-5080. All remaining counties should call the Annapolis office at: 410-841-5870.
Exemption Request Forms Available
Residents in participating communities who want their owned or leased property excluded from nuisance mosquito control spraying must submit the request in writing to the department. The exemption form is available for download here.
Additional Mosquito Control Activities
Typical mosquito control activities include public health arboviral surveillance and testing, mosquito population surveillance, source reduction, biological control, ground and aerial application of insecticides and public education.
In addition to the department's truck-based spray operations, Mosquito Control operates a larviciding-by-air program on the Eastern Shore to control mosquito larvae in wetlands and salt marshes to kill mosquitoes before they develop into adults and fly into populated areas. This reduces the need to spray for adult mosquitoes by thousands of acres, and reduces the risk of transmitting mosquito-borne diseases to people, dogs and horses. In situations where high mosquito populations are prevalent or a threat to public/animal health exists, the department will conduct aerial adulticide applications to control the mosquito population.
In our truck-based spray program, the department uses the insecticide Permanone 30-30, which is a synergized synthetic pyrethroid product that provides effective control of adult mosquitoes in residential and recreational areas.