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DNREC to begin mosquito control spray this week


Delaware’s Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control will start spraying spring woodland pools for mosquito larvae this week.

Helicopters will start applying the insecticide in southern Sussex County and expand into Kent and New Castle counties over the next several weeks – covering over 10,000 acres of wet woodlands where early-season woodland pool larval mosquitoes sit. The goal is to reduce the number of adult biting mosquitoes that emerge in the spring.

Mosquito Control Section administrator Bill Meredith says this not only improves quality of life in the First State but also protects public health.

“We’re primarily concerned in Delaware with two types of mosquito borne viruses, the West Nile virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis," Meredith says. "We also have some issues with imported viruses that might be coming in with people. We still get Malaria occasionally in Delaware and that's usually imported.”

Meredith says the chemical used is approved by the Environmental Protection Agency and residents near areas getting sprayed don’t need to take any extra precautions.

“You’d think that some people might be a bit chemosensitive where they could experience things like stingy eyes or scratchy throats, but it’s very fleeting," Meredith says, "So we’ve really had, in the 40 some years I’ve been doing this, very little in the way of complaints from people who have been exposed to the spray.”

Starting in April, control measures will expand to larval and adult saltmarsh mosquitoes, other freshwater mosquitoes, and urban and suburban container-breeding mosquitoes to manage mosquito populations.

Rachel Sawicki is Delaware Public Media's New Castle County Reporter. They are non-binary and use they/them pronouns.