With the COVID-19 pandemic keeping most people at home, backyards have been sanctuaries for residents trying to enjoy the outdoors while still remaining socially distanced.
However, there’s been a nuisance all summer that has kept East Boston residents from venturing out and enjoying their yards.
Residents living near the beach and marshy areas in Orient Heights have complained that mosquitoes are worse than ever this season.
Many residents complained that all hours of the day–morning, noon and night–mosquitoes were abundant and inflicting itchy bites on those trying to do yard work or enjoy a cookout with family members.
“I can’t even enjoy my yard,” said Orient Heights resident Mary Berninger recently.
Well, there’s some good news on the horizon for those dealing with mosquitos in Orient Heights.
This week the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) issued an advisory to residents that the city will conduct spraying to help control mosquito populations in Eastie on Monday, August 10.
BPHC partners with the Suffolk County Mosquito Control Project (SCMCP) to protect Boston residents from mosquito-borne disease transmission.
SCMCP will be using a truck mounted aerosol sprayer to apply a formula that contains the pesticide, sumithrin, to control mosquitoes. The spraying happens between sunset and 11:30 p.m.
On Monday spraying is scheduled in Orient Heights, including streets in the vicinity of Orient Ave., Boardman St., Andrew Rd. and Horace St. If spraying is postponed, it will be rescheduled for Wednesday, August 12.
“Residents do not need to take any special precautions for this application,” said the BPHC in the advisory this week. “As with any pesticide, people should minimize exposure. If residents see a spray truck approaching, they are advised to go indoors for a couple of minutes while the spray dissipates. Residents are also advised to close windows during and immediately following spraying. Beekeepers do not need to take any special precautions since spraying begins after dusk.”
Sumithrin is a synthetic pyrethroid that is classified as slightly toxic by the EPA. Mosquito control applications of sumithrin do not pose a significant risk to people or their pets due to the low toxicity of sumithrin and the small amount used to control mosquitoes.
According to the BPHC Mosquitoes in Boston are most active from dusk to dawn during the months of July to September. However, mosquitoes can spread disease until the first hard frost–as late as November. Mosquito species have different breeding habits, but most want to lay their eggs near water – usually in vegetation or in still water.
The BPHC advises Eastie residents to limit places around the home where standing water can collect. Residents should turn over unused flowerpots, buckets, wheelbarrows and garbage cans; remove leaves and other debris that can clog gutters and trap water; dispose of or cover old tires; and cover swimming pools when not in use.
BPHC partners with the SCMCP to control the mosquito population in certain areas of Boston. SCMCP collects mosquito samples in traps every week during the summer and fall. Those mosquito samples are tested to see if West Nile Virus (WNV) or Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) are present. Mosquito control measures are also implemented during the summer and fall months. Wetlands, storm drains and other areas around the city are treated to limit the number of mosquitoes by killing mosquito larvae.