Union Leader Correspondent
LONDONDERRY -- With spring already off to a soggy start, town officials are looking toward the summer months as they prepare for the long process of ensuring residents are safe from mosquito-borne illnesses this year. On April 18, Stratham-based Dragon Mosquito Control will begin checking the town’s swamps, woodland pools, ditches, storm drains and other bodies of shallow and stagnant water for signs of mosquito larvae.
Once mosquitoes are found, insecticides such as VectoBac , Altosid, Agnique MMF, Mosquito Larvicide GB-1111 or BVA 2 Mosquito Larvicide Oil may be used to keep insect populations under control.
As town officials prepare for warm-weather gatherings on the Town Common and the athletic fields at Matthew Thornton Elementary School, the middle school and high school, insecticides are also being applied to grassy areas. “Right now, it’s not possible to detect if emergency spraying will be necessary,” Town Administrative Assistant Margo Lapietro said during Monday night’s Town Council meeting, noting that the spray schedule is based on mosquito surveillance data, disease test results and weather conditions.
“Further communication will be given if emergency spraying is going to take place,” Lapietro added.
However, if Eastern equine encephalitis or West Nile virus is found in or near Londonderry, additional spraying could be conducted at Moose Hill School, North School, Matthew Thornton School, Londonderry High School, Londonderry Middle School, South School, the Town Common, Nelson fields, West Road fields and the Victory Church fields.
State Health and Human Services officials typically begin their EEE surveillance program during the first week of July, according to Beth Daly, chief of communicable disease surveillance.
Sarah McGregor, president of Dragon Mosquito Control, previously said a wet springtime is a typical precursor to a high level of mosquitoes during the summer months.
“These rainy springs we’ve had over the past few years set a perfect stage for EEE,” she said, though she noted the good news is that drier climates tend to create more habitable conditions for the spread of West Nile virus.
However, since it’s still early in the season, a late spring or early summer drought could quickly increase that risk.
Residents who do not want their property treated must contact Dragon Mosquito Control in writing at P.O. Box 46, Stratham, NH 03885. For additional information, those wishing to have their property tested for mosquitoborne diseases, at no charge to them, may contact Dragon Mosquito Control at 964-8400.