PITTSFIELD -- Before potential disease-carrying mosquitoes put the bite on city residents, several neighborhoods will be sprayed later this week in order to reduce the number of swarming summer insects.
Weather permitting, Berkshire County Mosquito Control Project will conduct truck-mounted mosquito spray application on Thursday from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. in Springside Park, outer West Street beyond Berkshire Community College, Woodland Drive area and Lillybrook Road. In the event of rain, spraying may be rescheduled for Friday night.
A large population of mosquitoes is starting to emerge in those sections of Pittsfield, in part, due to the recent heavy rains, according to mosquito control officials, who have already been spraying on a weekly basis in Sheffield
Despite the number of mosquitoes on the rise locally and across the state, mosquito control Superintendent Christopher Horton said the threat so far of mosquito-borne viruses such as West Nile Virus has been almost nil.
"It's really been a quiet year," Horton said. "There's only been two positive tests for viruses from the 1,000 sample areas across the state and none here."
The city Health Department noted the spray doesn't leave a significant residue and isn't persistent in the environment. However, residents who don't want their property sprayed, should contact Mosquito Control via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to give your name and street address.
"We certainly want citizens to understand the need for [spraying]," said Mayor Daniel L. Bianchi. "We are very concerned of the impact that West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis can have on folks, especially children and the elderly."
City health officials urge residents to help them in the battle to reduce the mosquito population by draining any standing water on their property to prevent the insects from laying eggs. Clean out clogged rain gutters and drains to keep water flowing, as well as empty unused flower pots and wading pools and frequently change water in birdbaths.
Spraying precautions ...
A controlled spraying of mosquitos is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday in several Pittsfield neighborhoods.
To avoid exposure to the product:
• Close windows, doors and turn off air conditioners facing the street.
• Stay inside during the spray period and remove laundry from clotheslines.
• Rinse produce from gardens with water.
• Map of the scheduled spray areas is available at www.cityofpittsfield.org.