In what’s become an annual rite of summer, the city’s Health Department will launch its war on disease-carrying mosquitoes in Queens next week.
Five marshy areas of the “World’s Borough” will be treated with larvicide dropped from helicopters during daytime hours, 6 a.m. to 7 p.m., on Tuesday, June 19, through Thursday, June 21, weather permitting. In the event of inclement weather, the treatment will occur at the same time between Wednesday, June 20, and Friday, June 22.
With summer weather in full spring, the Health Department is concerned with the proliferation of mosquitoes, which thrive in warm, humid conditions. Since 1999, mosquitoes in New York City have been known to carry the West Nile virus, a potentially deadly disease spread to humans and other animals through bites from infected bugs.
So far this season, the agency noted, there are no known human cases of West Nile virus infection.
In this first phase of its war on mosquitoes, the Health Department will use a low-flying helicopter to drop larvicide over the marshy areas that are known to be prime breeding grounds for mosquitoes. The larvicide is VectoMax FG, which contains a naturally occurring bacteria and has been approved for use by both the federal Environmental Protection Agency and the state Department of Environmental Conservation.
The five Queens areas where larvicide treatment will take place next week are as follows:
- Areas of Alley Pond Park near Alley Creek bounded by Douglaston Parkway and 240th Street to the east; Northern Boulevard to the north; Cross Island Parkway and East Hampton Boulevard to the west; and Grand Central Parkway to the south.
- The abandoned Flushing Airport, bounded by Whitestone Expressway to the east; 20th Avenue to the north; 130th Avenue and Ulmer Street to the west; and Ulmer Street and 28th Street to the south.
- Dubos Point and Edgemere Park in the Rockaways, bounded by Norton Basin to the east; Mott Point to the north; Grass Hassock Channel to the west; and Beach 65th Street, De Costa Avenue and Almeda Avenue to the south.
- Areas of Brookville Park bounded by Huxley Street to the east; 149th Avenue (to 225th Street), 148th Avenue (to 230th Street) and 147th Avenue (to 235th Street) to the north; 150th Road to the west; and Rockaway Boulevard to the south.
- Marshy areas of Kissena Park bounded by 164th Street to the east; Oak Avenue and Rose Avenue to the north; and Kissena Boulevard to the west; and Booth Memorial Avenue to the south.
Even as the Health Department attempts to kill mosquitoes before they even hatch, the public plays an important role in curbing the growth of mosquitoes across the city. Mosquitoes can breed even in puddles, so the Health Department urges property owners to make sure to remove any amount of standing water from their yards and sidewalks.
If you have a swimming pool, outdoor sauna or hot tub, be sure to keep it clean and chlorinated to prevent mosquito growth. If empty or not in use, keep it covered with a tarp, and remove any standing water that may collect atop it.
You can also keep mosquitoes out of your homes by repairing or replacing screens which have tears or holes. Also, keep roof gutters clear of debris in order for proper drainage.
When out and about this summer, the Health Department advises you to use an approved insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus (don’t use for children under 3) or other products that contain the active ingredient IR3535.
Call 311 or visit nyc.gov/health/wnv for more information.