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Mosquito Control Aerial Spraying to Occur Tomorrow Early Morning in Dorchester Co.; Opportunity for B-Roll, Interviews with Pilot, Mosquito Control Program Expert

mosquito plane-jeff moreland1ANNAPOLIS, MD – The Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) Mosquito Control program will conduct aerial larviciding on Wednesday, June 4, to control mosquito larvae in wetlands and salt marshes to kill mosquitoes before they develop into adults and fly into populated areas. This will reduce the need to spray for adult mosquitoes by thousands of acres, and reduce the risk of transmitting mosquito-borne diseases to people, dogs and horses.

The tides have flooded the high marsh areas and weather conditions are appropriate for aerial larviciding operations to control the larvae of the Eastern Salt Marsh mosquito (Ochlerotatus sollicitans) in the Fishing Bay and Elliot Island area of Dorchester County. MDA plans to apply a new larvicide – called Natular 2E – by flying a twin-engine Beechcraft aircraft over 200 acres of wetlands and salt marshes in the targeted area. The Eastern Salt Marsh mosquito is the primary pest mosquito of the Eastern Shore, is another aggressive biter of mammals and birds, and also transmits West Nile virus, eastern equine encephalitis and other diseases. This application is expected to reduce mosquitoes in the Elliot Island area as well as reduce the need for follow up spraying to control adult mosquitoes.

Larvae are concentrated in wetlands. Once the adults take flight, they can spread for miles, greatly increasing the area where they must be controlled. Controlling mosquitoes before they grow up reduces nuisance for local residents as well as the risk of mosquito-borne diseases.

This spraying is a follow-up to spraying that occurred in April, which killed 95 percent of the mosquito larvae in 4,200 acres of flooded woodland in Dorchester, Somerset and Worcester counties. That application used the larvicide Vectobac 12AS (BTI) – a formulation of a naturally occurring bacteria, which MDA has used for some time. It targeted the mosquito Ochlerotatus canadensis – an aggressive biter and long-lived mosquito that hatches early in the spring and lives in wooded, shaded areas.

The two larvicides used are highly host specific and have minimal or no impacts on non-target species. They are also less toxic than the sprays used to control adult mosquitoes and can be applied over much smaller areas. Using a plane makes treatment of large areas of wetlands more economical and effective. Every acre that is successfully larvicided by plane may reduce adult spraying by thousands of acres.

WHAT: Aerial mosquito control spraying in the Fishing Bay and Elliot Island area of Dorchester County, followed by media availability of MDA Chief Pilot Paul Nuwer and MDA Mosquito Control Assistant Chief Dave Schofield.

WHEN/WHERE: Wednesday, June 4 at 7:30 a.m. at the Elliot Island Boat Ramp. (Elliott Island is 18 miles south of Vienna off Route 50) where reporters can record B-roll of the plane making turns in the air during spray operations. Then, drive to the Cambridge-Dorchester Regional Airport (5263 Bucktown Road, Cambridge) for interviews with MDA experts. (Drive from boat ramp to airport is 30-45 minutes.)

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EDITOR’S NOTE:  If planning to cover the spraying, please contact Julie Oberg, 443-758-4466 (cell).

Contact Information

If you have any questions, need additional information or would like to arrange an interview, please contact:

Jason Schellhardt
Director of Communications
Telephone: 410-841-5888

Megan Guilfoyle
Public Information Officer
Telephone: 410-841-5889

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