Spraying on Long Island for West Nile Virus

August 9, 2010 2:46:17 PM PDT
An early spraying season for West Nile Virus on Long Island especially in Nassau County, where health officials say the infected mosquito situation is now so bad, they're going to spray from the air - not the ground.

It's a far more controversial method.

"The number of mosquitoes with West Nile Virus activity at this time is higher and earlier than ever before," said Dr. Maria Torella Carney, Nassau Health Commissioner.

That alarming development is why Nassau County has started spraying pesticides sooner than ever before, trying to get out ahead of a potentially serious health problem.

"It looks like it's spreading each week we're getting more and more mosquito collections with positive West Nile Virus activity," adds Dr. Carney.

So far, in 2010 only one person in Nassau has been diagnosed with West Nile Virus, and the county wants to keep it that way by spraying as many areas as possible especially those places where mosquitos breed.

The waterside community of Seaford is just one of the locations that will see ground spraying Monday night.

"Clearly West Nile is a serious issue. If that's they way they have to deal with it then go ahead and deal with it, but again, I would like to know when it's going on," said Bob Ryan.

Areas to be sprayed by Plane

  • Northern boundary: Northern Boulevard (Rt. 25A) from the Queens line to Cedar Swamp Road (Rt. 107). From Cedar Swamp Road south of Northern Boulevard (25A) to Jericho Turnpike (Rt. 25). Jericho Turnpike (Rt. 25) to the Suffolk County line.
  • Southern boundary: North of Sunrise Highway from the Queens border to the Wantagh State Parkway, excluding those areas previously addressed by ground spraying, and north of the Southern State Parkway from the Wantagh Parkway to the Suffolk County line.
  • Eastern boundary: Suffolk County line.
  • Western boundary: Queens line.

    Aerial: Weather permitting, the planned schedule for aerial spraying will be on Wednesday August 11 beginning at 7 P.M. and ending at 5 A.M. and Thursday, August 12 beginning at 7 P.M. and ending at 5 A.M. Based on weather conditions, spraying may continue next week.

    Areas to be sprayed by truck:

  • Sections of Massapequa Park and East Massapequa
  • Sections of Glen Cove, Sea Cliff, Glenwood Landing, Glen Head and Old Brookville

    Ground Spraying: Wednesday August 11 beginning at 7 P.M. and ending at 5 A.M.

    Alternate dates: Thursday, Monday or Tuesday, August 12th, 16th or 17th.

    Scourge is a pesticide containing resmethrin and piperonyl butoxide. Resmethrin is a man-made pyrethroid insecticide that can also be found in other pesticide products used indoors and on pets to control ticks and other insects, such as fleas and ants. Piperonyl butoxide does not directly kill insects on its own, but acts to increase the ability of resmethrin to kill insects. These active ingredients are dissolved in a petroleum solvent.

    Health Effects: The chance of experiencing any health effects from the use of Scourge to control mosquitoes is quite low. As with any pesticide, individuals may want to reduce or eliminate exposure. Some particularly sensitive individuals may possibly experience short-term effects such as eye, skin, nose or throat irritation or breathing problems.

    To Reduce Exposure: The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) do not require relocating or taking special precautions during mosquito control spraying. Individuals, especially pregnant women and children, should remain inside during the spraying and for about 30 minutes afterwards. In addition, individuals may minimize exposure by:

  • Keeping windows and doors shut, setting air conditioners to re-circulate if able. Turn window fans off.
  • Keeping children's toys indoors.
  • Keeping pets indoors, as well as their food, water dishes and toys.
  • Covering fishponds during the spray period.

    Since the effects of the ground spraying dissipate in a few hours, it is not necessary to wash off outdoor furniture or playground equipment before use, although doing so will not diminish the effectiveness of the pesticide applied.

    For additional information: Please call the West Nile Virus Spray Hotline at 1-888-844-8657, on the days that spraying is scheduled, between the hours of 9:00 AM and 10:00 PM or visit the Nassau County Department of Health website at www.nassaucountyny.gov.