submitted by Upton Board of Health
- Why is the Board of Health putting an article on the town warrant to join the Central Mass. Mosquito Control Project (CMMCP)?
Mosquito Control is part of the realm of Public health; mosquitoes are vectors, or transmitters, of infectious disease. The Board wants to be proactive with this issue and not wait for residents to contract disease before taking action.
- What is the CMMCP and what will they do for residents of Upton?
CMMP is a state agency created by the Massachusetts State Legislature in 1973, and currently consists of 41 cities and towns in Central Massachusetts, from both Worcester and Middlesex Counties, covering over 730 square miles. It operates under M.G.L. chapter 252, (Improvement of Low Land & Swamps) and the State Reclamation & Mosquito Control Board.
CMMP will provide the following services to Upton upon joining the program: Larva Control, Source Reduction, Surveillance, Adult Mosquito Control, Beaver Mitigation, Wetland restoration/ditch maintenance, Public Education, and Research. (See attachment for more information on these services)
- Are there other communities that have joined the program?
Yes, there are currently 41 communities in the program: Acton, Ashland, Auburn, Ayer, Berlin, Billerica, Blackstone, Boxborough, Boylston, Chelmsford, Clinton, Devens, Dracut, Fitchburg, Gardner, Holliston, Hopedale, Hopkinton, Hudson, Lancaster, Leominster, Littleton, Lowell, Lunenburg, Marlboro, Milford, Millbury, Millville, Natick, Northboro, Northbridge, Sherbon, Shrewsbury, Southboro, Stow, Sturbridge, Tewsksbury, Webster, Westboro, Westford, and Wilmington. Statewide, there are a total of 11 regional mosquito districts with 204 communities as members.
- Is there a problem in the United States that we need to worry about?
There are several types of mosquito borne diseases presently here in the United States including; West Nile Virus, St. Louis Encephalitis, Eastern Equine Encephalitis, Chikungunya and even Dengue Fever. There is currently no vaccine for most of these viruses; mosquito avoidance is the best thing to do. The CMMCP is a community approach designed to work in combination with individual efforts to create an unfavorable environment for mosquito growth on our properties.
- Have there been cases of the mosquito borne Zika virus in the United States?
The reported cases of Zika Virus here in the US have all been travel related, with no locally acquired vector-borne cases reported as yet. CMMCP is currently working with Mass. Dept. of Public Health to determine if Zika virus will be an issue in Central Mass. The CDC and other U.S. government agencies have also been working with state and local government partners on prevention and early detection of the Zika virus infection and will increase these activities as part of their preparation for the anticipated emergence of mosquito-borne transmission of Zika virus in the continental United States.
- What type of products/chemicals does CMMCP use?
Products used are registered by the EPA and the Mass. Pesticide Bureau. Labels and fact sheets are available upon request to the public from the CMMCP’s office, their technicians or from their website. They use dilute, non-residual, low toxicity synthetic pyrethroids, similar to ones available to consumers.
- How much “spraying” will you do in my town?
This part of the service has the most misconceptions attached to it. Mosquito spraying, called adulticiding, is performed in all CMMCP member towns by request-only. Area residents will call the CMMCP office and register a complaint about unbearable mosquito numbers. A Field Technician will be dispatched to investigate this complaint. If the pre-determined threshold of adult mosquitoes is reached, a very specific, targeted application will result, but only in that area. All spraying is done after sunset to protect pollinators. Many factors influence this program – weather, current surveillance, topography, location, etc. CMMCP does not perform routine, area-wide spraying for adult mosquitoes. Exclusions for spraying can be made through a simple exclusion process with the program.
- Is the spraying dangerous to me and my family?
The product used for mosquito spraying has a very low toxicity to mammals, family pets and local wildlife. The acute toxicity is very low compared to common substances that people are routinely exposed to, such as caffeine and nicotine, and even over-the-counter medications. Chronic toxicity should not be a concern due to the fact that this program is very targeted and limited – exposure cannot occur repeatedly due to the spraying policies of CMMCP. If for any reason you desire to have your property excluded, you may do so. All products used by CMMCP are registered for use by the Comm. of Mass. and the EPA. CMMCP mosquito control techniques are endorsed by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
- Is the program only active in the summer?
Mosquito control is performed year-round. Mosquito larvae will usually hatch in late February, and by mid-March CMMCP is investigating wetland areas they have catalogued. This is called larviciding. This service will continue through the spring & summer into the fall, depending on weather and current mosquito surveillance.
- What happens if Upton chooses not to join the program?
Residents will likely be unaware of any mosquito borne diseases that may be present in Upton. The Massachusetts Dept. of Public Health completes no standard, periodic mosquito testing in non-member towns. On rare occasions they may put out a trap but usually after notification of a virus conformation (horse, human, etc).
Should the WNV(or any other mosquito borne illness) be found in Upton again, the Board of Health will advise the sports clubs, youth groups and schools to conclude their summertime activities at dusk due to the increase in mosquito activity during the hours of dusk to dawn.
Mosquitos can carry numerous viruses and bacterium, some fatal to man. Although joining this program will not eliminate the threat of mosquito borne illnesses, it will go a long way towards managing the increase of mosquito populations in our neighborhoods, lowering the risk of contracting a mosquito borne illness.
- Where can I find more information on the Central Mass. Mosquito Control Program?
CMMCP has their own website: http://cmmcp.org with lots of great information. You can also contact them by telephone at (508) 393-3055, by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or through the postal service at: 111 Otis Street Northborough, MA 01532
The following services and activities are available to those communities participating in the Central Massachusetts Mosquito Control Project:
- LARVAL CONTROL:
Wetlands and suspected mosquito breeding sites are monitored from March through September to determine the need for applications of environmentally sensitive
products (typically a bacteria called Bti) to control and/or eliminate the larval
mosquito. By controlling mosquitoes in their larval stage the need for adult mosquito
spraying is reduced.
- SOURCE REDUCTION:
Reducing or removing larval habitat by recycling, waste disposal or other means is a permanent solution. Mosquito larvae are opportunistic and will create habitat in any container that holds water for more than a week. Empty and clean birdbaths and kiddie pools each week, cover or store inside anything that may capture and hold water, and dispose of or recycle any containers that are no longer needed. CMMCP now has a tire recycling program to allow residents a means to dispose of these important larval habitats.
- WETLAND RESTORATION/DITCH MAINTENANCE:
Mosquitoes need still, stagnant water to complete their metamorphosis from egg to adult. CMMCP conducts maintenance on ditches, culverts and man-made ponds to improve water quality and increase water flow, reducing the potential for mosquito breeding.
Mosquito populations are monitored in both the larval and adult stages to determine the appropriate control methods to be employed, prevalent mosquito species, and disease transmission potential. CMMCP has instituted a program to supplement the Dept. of Public Health’s arbovirus surveillance program for monitoring West Nile Virus in Massachusetts, using mosquito gravid traps. These traps will be placed throughout out service area and can be quickly broken down and moved to respond to the immediate needs of monitoring for this and other mosquito-borne diseases. When WNV or EEE is confirmed in a member city or town, these traps are placed in areas that have been determined to harbor this virus. Additional types of traps able to sample mammal-biting mosquitoes will also be placed to determine WNV levels and risk to the local populace.
- PUBLIC EDUCATION:
Educating the public about mosquitoes and their biology is an important aspect of our program. We offer a comprehensive program in member communities geared towards school-aged children from Kindergarten to High School. This program is tailored to meet the needs of intended audience. In 2011 we developed a specialized program geared towards senior citizens. The Project produces public relations handouts, and all member Town Halls are stocked with information on CMMCP, our programs, and how the homeowner can reduce mosquito populations in their own area. Project staff is available to meet with civic organizations, town/city boards, and to participate in Health Fairs. Tours of the Project’s headquarters can be arranged by calling our office.
- ADULT MOSQUITO CONTROL:
When adult mosquito populations reach intolerable levels, handheld or truck mounted sprayers are used to reduce the adult mosquito levels in residential areas. CMMCP has worked diligently over the past 20 years to achieve the goal of reducing the dependency on adulticiding by increasing the emphasis on larviciding, public education, water management and source reduction.
- BEAVER MITIGATION:
CMMCP receives many requests from city and town officials and property owners seeking assistance to alleviate flooding cause by beaver activity. CMMCP recognizes beavers as keystone species of the natural and ecological landscape. Beaver activity creates wetland and wildlife habitat that benefits many plant and animal species. Along with the positive aspects of beaver activity come some negative aspects. The most frequent issue affecting CMMCP is dam building activity which clogs culverts and drainage ditches. Increased flooding creates new habitat for mosquitoes and increases the need for Integrated Pest Management (IPM) techniques. CMMCP supports and follows the recommended practices for beaver management per the Massachusetts
Division of Fisheries and Wildlife. Beaver activity will not be interrupted unless it becomes a threat to public health and safety per the Massachusetts Beaver Law M.G.L. c. 131 S. 80A. CMMCP will fully adhere to the permitting process as regulated by the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (DFW) and the Department of Public Health (DPH).
- RESEARCH AND EFFICACY:
While CMMCP is an agency charged with the control of mosquitoes, we strive to check for efficacy of our products and techniques, and whenever possible perform research in new or different areas of mosquito control.