Health Department to kick off mosquito-spraying season in Queens marshlands this week

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

It’s that time of year again — the Health Department is launching its annual campaign to control the mosquito population across Queens to curb against the spread of West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne illnesses.

The Health Department will take to the skies on Thursday, June 20; Friday, June 21; and Monday, June 24, weather permitting. From 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. on those days, a helicopter will spread larvicide on non-residential areas near local marshes.

While three days are allotted for the spraying, it may take less time to complete. In the event of inclement weather, the spraying will take place from Monday, June 24, through Wednesday, June 26.

“During the summer season, New Yorkers take full advantage of the outdoors and we want to make sure that they remain safe of mosquito-borne diseases,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot.  “Aerial larviciding is a safe and effective way to do just that.”

The Queens spray zones include marsh areas at Alley Creek at Alley Pond Park, the abandoned Flushing airport, Dubos Point and Edgemere Park, Brookville Park and Kissena Park.

Through the aerial spraying, the Health Department aims to use environmentally friendly larvicides to kill young mosquitoes before they grow into adults. To date, there have not been any reported cases of West Nile virus in New York City; however, mosquitoes can breed in any still water that has been standing for more than five days.

According to the Health Department, the most effective way to reduce the risk of mosquitos is to eliminate standing water. Residents can reduce risk by using an approved insect repellant containing DEET, picardin, oil of lemon eucalyptus (except for children 3 years of age and under) or the active ingredient IR3535. Keep all swimming pools, outdoor saunas and hot tubs chlorinated and clean, or covered when not in use.

To report standing water, visit nyc.gov/health/wnv.