View the Central Mass. Mosquito Control Project.

West Nile Virus Confirmed in Mosquitoes in Leominster. Area to Be Sprayed August 31, 2017

Date: August 30, 2017
Contact: Christopher J. Knuth, Health Director
Phone: 978-534-7533, ext. 248

Recently a mosquito that was collected in Leominster tested positive for the West Nile Virus. Fortunately the affected species belongs to a subspecies of the genus Culex that is a predominantly bird biting insect. Therefore the risk of human infection is low. As a precautionary measure, The Central Massachusetts Mosquito Control Project will be spraying the following streets in Leominster on Thursday night August 31, 2017

West Nile Virus (WNV) is most commonly transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito. The mosquitoes that carry this virus are common throughout the state, and are found in urban as well as more rural areas. While WNV can infect people of all ages, people over the age of 50 are at higher risk for severe infection. By spraying areas where infected mosquitoes are detected, it will reduce the number of flying insects and also kill their larvae before it can hatch.

All spraying is done after sunset and ends by midnight or so. The spray machines are electric and very quiet - you may not hear the application. We cannot always get in backyards due to time and other constraints, but please note the product does drift up to 300 feet, and when we receive multiple requests from any location we may spray the entire area to achieve the maximum result.

While the application takes place, and for short while afterward (15 to 20 minutes), you should remain inside to allow the product time to drift through the area. Close your windows facing the street before the application if possible to allow a more thorough application - you may open them again 20 minutes after the truck has gone by. If the spray technician sees an open door or window he will shut down the sprayer in that area. If you have children or pets, 20 minutes later after the mist has settled it is OK to go back out, longer at your discretion. If your pets were outside or your windows were open there is no reason to panic, exposure to the pesticide would be minimal and any negative effects would not be expected. The Mass. Department of Public Health has information about spraying at this link: Mosquito Spraying (PDF)

If you have a vegetable garden, washing with soap and water will remove any residual spray. If you have a swimming pool, there are no special precautions to take. Information on the products used by CMMCP. If / when you need additional service this year you will need to submit another request to our office; we do not keep a permanent spray list.

Here is a list of things you can do to reduce the risk of being bitten by mosquito's. By taking a few, common-sense precautions, people can help to protect themselves and their loved ones:

Avoid Mosquito Bites

  • Be Aware of Peak Mosquito Hours - The hours from dusk to dawn are peak biting times for many mosquitoes. Consider rescheduling outdoor activities that occur during evening or early morning. If you are outdoors at any time and notice mosquitoes around you, take steps to avoid being bitten by moving indoors, covering up and/or wearing repellant.
  • Clothing Can Help reduce mosquito bites. Although it may be difficult to do when it's hot, wearing long-sleeves, long pants and socks when outdoors will help keep mosquitoes away from your skin.
  • Apply Insect Repellent when you go outdoors. Use a repellent with DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide), permethrin, picaridin (KBR 3023), IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus [p-methane 3, 8-diol (PMD)] according to the instructions on the product label. DEET products should not be used on infants under two months of age and should be used in concentrations of 30% or less on older children. Oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under three years of age.Permethrin products are intended for use on items such as clothing, shoes, bed nets and camping gear and should not be applied to skin.

Mosquito-Proof Your Home

  • Drain Standing Water - Many mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water. Limit the number of places around your home for mosquitoes to breed by either draining or getting rid of items that hold water. Check rain gutters and drains. Empty any unused flowerpots and wading pools, and change water in birdbaths frequently.
  • Install or Repair Screens - Some mosquitoes like to come indoors. Keep them outside by having tightly-fitting screens on all of your windows and doors.

The Leominster Board of health continues to work closely with the MDPH and the Central Massachusetts Mosquito Control Program. This includes applying larvacide and keeping streams, drainage swales and ditches flowing by removing debris.

Information about WNV and reports of current and historical WNV virus activity in Massachusetts can be found on the MDPH website.