I just wanted to provide an update on our Mosquito-borne Disease Control (MDC) Program activities in your municipalities and to let you know we are aware of the nuisance mosquito problem in your communities and are doing what we can to try to alleviate it.
We hired two new seasonal technicians for our MDC Program recently. They have received initial training (with more being done), and some larvicidal treatment and trapping in the known mosquito hotspots in your municipalities and throughout the county has been underway for several weeks. A regional PA DEP biologist has been providing support and training on a regular basis while our technicians study and test for their pesticide applicator licenses (which one of them just received).
A trap that will be retrieved today from the Swetland Lane neighborhood will indicate whether the thresholds have been met to spray for adult mosquitos in that vicinity and the surrounding area. Please note that typically, we don’t meet those thresholds until later in the season when West Nile Virus is detected in mosquito samples. There are strict protocols for the use of pesticide spraying to control adult mosquitos…a sort of risk-benefit analysis for using the chemicals.
If the threshold is met, it is possible that we’ll be able to spray in the Swetland Lane/surrounding area in the near future, because that is where most of the breeding habitat is. Otherwise, we’ll continue to monitor and treat for mosquito larvae (which is actually a more effective, but slower way of controlling mosquitoes).
Even if we are able to spray in the near future, it’s important to mention that we have a limited amount of the very expensive adult mosquito pesticide spray (more is on order…but like everything else, it’s on backorder). Please be aware that this will not be a regular thing that we’re able to do, especially since we need to make sure we have enough product to use when West Nile Virus does show up in the local mosquito population later in the summer.
I know that it’s not a comfort to those who live in areas with a lot of mosquitoes, but the program is really not a nuisance mosquito control program. The limited resources we (and the state) have to implement the program are necessarily focused on surveillance and control of the spread of mosquito-borne diseases. We will do what we can to mitigate the nuisance with those limited resources, but it’ll always be a struggle in your part of the Valley (and other parts of the county) that have large areas of wetlands and other mosquito-breeding habitat nearby.
We would appreciate your help in communicating this information to your constituents. As always, you or your residents can feel free to contact our MDC Program technicians at 570-674-7991 extension 5. Just be aware that they are mostly in the field doing the surveillance and control work, so it might take some time for them to respond.
–Josh Longmore, Executive Director