Summer in the Tri-Town means a lot of things: games of Frisbee, hours spent gardening, hammocks, cookouts, and countless other outdoor activities. While fun may be the first thing that comes to your mind as the common bond among all of these pastimes, it must not forgotten that mosquitoes are guaranteed to be joining us wherever we go, whatever we do.
On Thursday, June 28, Daniel Daly, community liaison of the Plymouth County Mosquito Control Project held an information session at the Rochester Senior Center, and spoke about the work he does and how people can protect themselves from potentially deadly diseases.
There are around 50 different species of mosquitoes in Plymouth County. “But most aren’t interested in biting mammals,” Daly said.
He and his colleagues, among many things, work to identify mosquito breeding grounds, educate the public on safety precautions, and attempt to eliminate mosquito-based threats in the communities of Plymouth County.
“Everything we do revolves around the life cycle of mosquitoes. If we have rain, we know we have five to seven days to react,” said Daly.
While bug zappers and swatters have their places on our decks and in our kitchens, the best preventative measures can be taken before young mosquitoes take flight. “The ideal time is while they are in larval stage because they are so concentrated,” he said.
These days, there are two diseases that scientists are most concerned with: West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE or Triple E). The latter was first identified in 1938 in Massachusetts and over 60% of the fewer than 100 or so reported cases in that time have been in Plymouth and Norfolk counties. There is no treatment for either ailment, with young children and older adults being among the highest risk demographics.
Daly recommends people follow the Three D’s of mosquito prevention.
- Drain. Mosquito larva develops in pools of stagnant water in about a week. By removing anything capable of collecting excess water from around your home, you help mitigate the number of mosquitoes in your neighborhood. This includes open trash barrels, loose tarps, and tires.
- Dress. When possible, dress in long sleeves, pants, and hats to reduce the amount of exposed skin available to mosquitoes. The bloodsuckers are attracted to darker colors and human body odor, so make sure you and your clothes are clean.
- Defend. Using bug repellant is an excellent way to keep mosquitoes off. Daly recommends DEET, but if you prefer more natural solutions, try oil of lemon eucalyptus.
You can visit the Massachusetts Department of Public Health or the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources for more information.
By Eric Tripoli