To the editor of THE EAGLE:
In response to the August 28 letter "Native garden subject to poison," I would like to remind Eagle readers that the mosquito control treatment mentioned was conducted in response to a finding of West Nile Virus in the mosquito population in the immediate area. The Berkshire County Mosquito Control Project, in partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, monitors mosquito population throughout the season for the presence of West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephaltis. When these virus are detected, an area spray treatment is recommended to remove infected mosquitoes from the environment, which reduces the risk of the viruses to humans and checks the increase of the virus in the environment.
To refer to the products we use as "poisons" or "harmful chemicals" is inaccurate. These materials have been designed specifically for mosquito control and have been extensively tested to ensure that they are effective and that their use does not adversely affect human populations or the environment. These products have known characteristics, and their use is highly regulated by federal, state and local authorities. In addition, as licensed applicators, we use sophisticated equipment and laborious practices to ensure that the product is applied accurately and only when necessary.
Late August is the peak transmission time for West Nile Virus and we know it is present. Common sense measures can further protect people and their loved ones from mosquito bites.
* Be aware of peak mosquito activity -- the hours from dusk to dawn.
* Wear protective clothing such as long-sleeved shirts, pants and shoes with socks.
* Use an effective mosquito repellent and follow the label instructions.
The goal of the Berkshire County Mosquito Control Project is to provide safe, effective, mosquito control so that residents can enjoy the outdoors in comfort and safety. CHRISTOPHER
The writer is superintendent, Berkshire County Mosquito Control Project.