Monday, July 21, 2008

DEP to spray today for mosquitos in Phoenixville, Spring City, & West Goshen



Dept. of Environmental Protection
Southeast Regional Office
2 East Main Street
Norristown, PA 19401


Dennis Harney
Phone: (484) 250-5819


NORRISTOWN – Weather permitting, the Department of Environmental Protection and West Nile staff in Chester County will apply treatments the evening of Monday, July 21, in Phoenixville, West Goshen Township and Spring City open areas to control adult mosquito populations.
Samples taken by local officials and DEP in these areas have shown adult mosquito populations that can carry the West Nile virus.

The treatments will be administered during the evening hours with ATV-mounted equipment to spray Black Rock Preserve in Phoenixville, Barker Park in West Goshen, and the open spaces surrounding the sewage treatment plant in Spring City. The equipment dispenses Biomist 3 + 15, a permethrin insecticide product, at a rate of 0.75 ounces per acre.

Certain mosquito species carry the West Nile virus, which, when transmitted to people, can cause West Nile encephalitis, an infection that can result in an inflammation of the brain.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, all residents in areas where virus activity has been identified are at risk of getting West Nile encephalitis.

There have been no confirmed human cases of West Nile virus in Pennsylvania this year.

Individuals can take a number of measures around the home to help eliminate mosquito-breeding areas, including:

• Dispose of tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots or similar water-holding containers that have collected on your property.

• Pay attention to discarded tires. Stagnant water is where most mosquitoes breed.

• Drill holes in the bottom of outdoor recycling containers.

• Have clogged roof gutters cleaned every year, particularly if the leaves from surrounding trees have a tendency to plug drains. Roof gutters can produce millions of mosquitoes each season.

• Turn over plastic wading pools when not in use. Stagnant water in a wading pool becomes a place for mosquitoes to breed.

• Turn over wheelbarrows and don’t let water stagnate in birdbaths. Both provide breeding habitats for domestic mosquitoes.

• Aerate ornamental pools or stock them with fish. Water gardens can become major mosquito producers if they are allowed to stagnate.

• Clean and chlorinate swimming pools not in use. A swimming pool left untended by a family on vacation for a month can produce enough mosquitoes to result in neighborhood-wide complaints. Mosquitoes may even breed in the water that collects on pool covers.

• For stagnant pools of water, homeowners can buy Bti products at lawn and garden, outdoor supply, home improvement and other stores. This naturally occurring bacteria kills mosquito larva but is safe for people, pets, aquatic life and plants.

In addition, here are some simple precautions to prevent mosquito bites, particularly for people who are most at risk:

• Make sure screen fit tightly over doors and windows to keep mosquitoes out of homes.

• Consider wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants and socks when outdoors, particularly when mosquitoes are most active at dawn and dusk, or in areas known for having large numbers of mosquitoes.

• When possible, reduce outdoor exposure at dawn and dusk during peak mosquito periods, usually April through October.

• Use insect repellants according to the manufacturer’s instructions. An effective repellant will contain DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus. Consult with a pediatrician or family physician if you have questions about the use of repellant on children, as repellant is not recommended for children under the age of two months.

For more information about West Nile virus and the state’s surveillance and control program, go to



Karen said...

Cautionary information regarding the spraying of chemicals to combat mosquitos.

"The main immediate danger from pesticide spraying comes from inhaling the solvents and other chemicals used as "vehicles" for the active pesticide ingredients, putting those with asthma and other respiratory problems at particular risk. And swallowing pesticides-- either accidentally or intentionally -- could result in serious organ or brain damage. (For example, Scorecard lists sumithrin as a suspected gastrointestinal or liver toxicant, kidney toxicant and neurotoxicant.)

Repeated long-term exposure to pesticides has been linked to certain cancers and neurological problems in agricultural workers, who spend long hours day after day working in fields sprayed with pesticides. Because average citizens are exposed to much lower levels, the risks from long-term repeated exposure are less well understood, says Dr. Balbus.

As for repeated nighttime spraying, Dr. Balbus comments that "spraying at night does tend to minimize exposure -- the risk of inhaling the pesticide is highest if you're outside while the spraying is occurring." While organophosphates usually don't stick around more than one or two days in an area, that is enough time for some exposure to occur from the residues on plants and trees. "Again, it's a matter of prudence and common sense. I would certainly not allow children -- who are more vulnerable to the effects of exposure to pesticides -- to play on the grass or in trees the morning after spraying in the neighborhood."

Also, keeping abreast of local announcements of when spraying will occur and then staying indoors with windows closed is a wise course of action, says Dr. Balbus. "Under no circumstances should children ever be outside or allowed to play near a spraying truck. Bring in pets as well and remove pet food and dishes from outdoor areas. If officials in your area are lax about alerting the public about spraying or possible hazards, put pressure on them to do that."

Karen said...

Link to the CDC's frequently asked questions on West Nile Virus.

Anonymous said...


Thanks for posting this -- my husband goes running at Black Rock and now won't be doing this at that area tonight.

I do wonder why they aren't bothering with Bt -- the pesticide they are using is broad-spectrum and would harm many other "good bugs" as well as the mosquitos.

Karen said...

You are very welcome, Anonymous 12:53 p.m.

I am unable to find the exact areas they will be spraying, but in view of that fact, it would be best to have your husband excercise indoors tonight.

I've been receiving alerts of this type for several years, and the mix on the chemicals used have not changed to my recollection.

The toxicity of some of the chemicals used to combat pests may also be harmful to wildlife and impact those with asthma, etc.

We should plan to stay indoors tonight and be careful when out tomorrow, too.

Anonymous said...

Someone can correct me if I am wrong, but I think Bt is only effective against mosquito larvae. Notice that they are spraying for adult mosquitos.

I'd also note that the scary information posted is from (Environmental Defense Fund), which tends to be alarmist.