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2019 mosquito spraying underway in Delaware's wooded wetlands


State officials say 2018 was the worst mosquito season in recorded history. And Delaware’s Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control is already working to avoid a repeat this year.


The DNREC Mosquito Control Section’s spring woodland pool spraying is underway.  The annual spraying of mosquito larvae in wooded wetlands started Tuesday in Southern Sussex County.

“That's when we aerially apply a larvicide product to kill the immature aquatic stages. And this primarily involves wet woodland pools at this time of the year. There are a couple of early-season mosquitoes that will start to hatch out. And if we don’t control them in their larval stages, then probably in about a month’s time, there could be a large emergence of adult mosquitoes,” said Dr. Bill Meredith - the program administrator for DNREC’s Mosquito Control Section.

He says the spraying of wooded wetlands will eventually work its way up to Kent and New Castle Counties.

Dr. Meredith notes that in a typical season, 10,000 wooded acres are strategically sprayed by helicopter using insecticides to control mosquito larvae. He says that could rise this season due to large amounts of standing water.


Again, he points out that 2018 was the worst mosquito season in recorded history, "In terms of eruption of adult mosquitoes, particularly inland, freshwater mosquitoes. And we broke all kinds of records for numbers of public complaints. We received over 6,000 calls last summer asking - please come and save us from the mosquitoes.”


Meredith notes it is NOT logistically or budgetarily possible to spray all 100,000 or more acres of Delaware’s woodland mosquito-producing habitat.  So they target spots that tend to have high mosquito activity and are near populated areas to deliver the best return-on-investment.

Meredith asks that  residents do their part to help by getting rid of unnecessary standing water on their properties. He also suggests changing the bird-bath water every few days, turning over wheelbarrows and covering anything that can collect water - like trash cans.

The public can learn about locations and times of spraying for mosquitoes via daily radio announcements, or by calling 800-338-8181 toll-free. You can also subscribe to receive email, text or phone message announcements for your area by signing up on the Mosquito Control's Spray Zone Notification System.