Barrington attacks mosquitoes when they are in the larval stage under directions from the RI Department of Environmental Management.
Larvicide briquets are used. The town does not spray. It’s described as an environment-friendly approach.
“We’ve been doing it this way for at least 8 years,” said Alan Corvi, director of the Department of Public Works. “And we continue to do it. It’s nothing new.”
Corvi explained how Barrington attacks mosquitoes because EEE (Eastern Equine Encephalitis) was discovered in a sample of one mosquito pool, or sample, in a trap set in central Barrington on Sept. 5 by the Department of Environmental Management. The test results were announced Thursday.
The larvicide briquets are dropped into catch basins, ditches, stagnant water, any standing water, said Corvi, usually between May 1 and the end of September or the first frost.
“Residents often call us about standing water,” he said.
The briquets dissolve and spread an oily sheen on the water, which attacks and kills mosquito larva. It’s a DEM-approved product.
At the same time, Corvi said, DPW works with DEM to “improve the flow of water in ditches” so the larva can’t grow.
“We did that at the Walker Farm area a few years ago,” Corvi said, using that area as an example.
How often DPW treats for mosquitoes depends on the weather.
“If it’s a dry summer, we don’t have to treat as often,” he said.
The discovery of EEE was the fourth time this year that it has been identified in Rhode Island. The positive EEE result was from a Culiseta species that feeds almost exclusively on birds.
“I’m not surprised,” he said. “We’re real close to Massachusetts" and other areas with positive results.
To completely rid Barrington of mosquitoes, Coriv said, “We have to hope for a good frost.”
Corvi referred to what DEM said Thursday about people taking personal protecton against mosquitoes-- especially in th early evening around sundown when they are most active.
Alan Gettman, DEM's mosquito abatement coordinator, said that personal protection is the first line of defense against mosquitoes that can carry diseases such as West Nile Virus and EEE and is by far the most effective way of avoiding infection.
People should routinely use mosquito repellent and cover up when mosquito-biting activity is greatest. They should place mosquito netting over playpens and carriages outside, and be sure that screens are in good repair. Mosquito repellent should contain no more than 30 percent DEET, and it should not be used on infants.
Because horses are susceptible to West Nile Virus and EEE, Rhode Island horse owners should consult with their veterinarians to determine if their horses are properly vaccinated against both diseases and take measures to control and prevent mosquito exposure. Those controls should include: removing or covering all areas where standing water can collect; applying mosquito larvicide in appropriate locations; and avoiding turning animals outside at dawn, dusk and during the night when mosquitoes are most active. Horse owners should insect-proof facilities where possible; use approved repellants frequently; monitor animals for symptoms of fever, in-coordination, stumbling and neurological signs; and report all suspicious cases to a veterinarian immediately.
This year, to date in Rhode Island, four pools of mosquitoes have tested positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis and three pools have tested positive for West Nile Virus.
Mosquitoes in Rhode Island are trapped every week statewide by DEM staff and tested at the RI Department of Health laboratory. DEM will normally report mosquito test results once a week on a routine basis, with additional reports as necessary. Routine test results from the remaining 150 pools of mosquitoes trapped on Sept. 5 will be included in next week's announcement.
For online information about mosquito-borne diseases, go to DEM's website, www. dem.ri.gov, and click on “Public Health Updates,” or go to the HEALTH website, www.health.ri.gov, and click on “E” (Eastern Equine Encephalitis) or “W” (West Nile Virus) under “Health Topics.”