1. How do I request mosquito spraying?
Any resident can call us at (781) 762-3681, Monday through Friday during regular office hours (7:00 AM to 3:30 PM) to register a mosquito complaint. As an alternative, residents can request service online from the Online Service Request Form.
2. Do I have to call every week? Can you just put me on a list for the season?
We cannot keep a weekly list. We operate using Integrated Pest Management principles and state guidelines require that we document a mosquito problem prior to treating an area. We want and need to hear from residents who have a problem in order to fulfill these guidelines. Some residents respond by saying, “We always have a mosquito problem… just spray every week.” There are areas of the District that likely have ongoing mosquitoes during the entire summer, and we would love to say we could get rid of them all, but this is unreasonable and just having some mosquitoes does not always mean that spraying is warranted. Please contact us each week as long as mosquitoes are a problem for you.
3. I put in a request, but I didn’t see the truck?
There may be a few reasons for this:
(a) It is possible that you did not see or hear us, even though we were in the neighborhood. We spray between sunset and midnight and sometimes people do not see or hear the trucks – our sprayers are electric and they are very quiet compared to sprayers in past decades.
(b) It is possible that we were overwhelmed with requests during that particular week and we simply could not get to every area in the District.
(c) It is possible that weather conditions did not permit spraying. It was raining, too windy, or too cold during the application window.
If you did not see or hear the truck, please call our office to confirm if we treated your street. Our trucks are equipped with GPS tracking units and we can provide the exact time we were at your location. If we did not get to your location, your request will be honored the following week. In this case, there is no need to re-submit your request.
4. How do I know if my street was treated?
You can find out areas we intend to spray by checking out our ULV Spray Route Map after 3:30 on the day your town is scheduled to be sprayed. These maps are updated daily around 3:30PM to reflect that evening’s spray route. Just enter your address into the search bar to see whether or not your street is to be included. These maps are our estimate of what will be sprayed, but it is not a map of what was sprayed. We do not post post-spray maps at this time. If you missed the opportunity to check your town’s spray route ahead of time, you can call our office for more information.
5. My street shows up as a red line on the ULV Spray Route Map….?
Red areas on our maps indicate an exclusion zone. Exclusions include schools or certain day cares that we must exclude (unless they are in compliance with the Children and Families Protection Act for that particular application). Private resident exclusions are also shown in red. The red area indicates the 300-foot buffer zone around any excluded property. If you live within this red line area, then spraying cannot occur directly in front of your property. We may be spraying just outside these exclusion zones and thereby help kill mosquitoes in the area.
6. How do I exclude my property from being sprayed?
According to State Regulation 333 CMR:13:03, a resident may exclude their property from mosquito control applications by registering with their town clerk by March 1 of each calendar year. It is also helpful if you send a copy of this request directly to NCMCD at the time you make the request to the town clerk. If you would like more information on this process please click here.
7. Do I have to shut my windows during ULV spraying?
The EPA indicates that exposures from the many current uses of pyrethrins and pyrethroid insecticides do not pose risk concerns for children or adults… read more here… The best information available suggests that you do not need to shut windows during our applications. The product we currently use (Zenivex) is labeled as a “reduced risk” product by the EPA. It is approximately 200 times less acutely toxic than caffeine. Nevertheless, you can check our ULV spray route map on the afternoon of your towns planned evening spray to see if we plan to spray your area and shut windows if you choose.
8. Is it safe to walk my dog?
Just as our product is of extremely low risk to people, our ULV spray applications present a miniscule risk to your pets as well. We apply very small amounts. The product is labeled as “reduced risk” by the EPA. The product breaks down rapidly from UV (ultraviolet) exposure.
9. Why wasn’t I notified about…?
Due to limited resources, we are unable to personally notify every resident in the District. However, there are several ways you can find out about our activities. Our website has a searchable map of our scheduled ULV routes for that evening posted each day after 3:30 PM. You can also call (617) 582-6212 after 3:30PM to find out if your street is scheduled to be treated.
We also place notifications in local newspapers and with local boards of health as well. Finally, we are also on Facebook which we update with pertinent information. Click here to Like our Facebook Page.
10. Does the NCMCD spray schools?
We can only service schools that are in compliance with the Children and Families Protection Act. The CFPA requires that each school annually prepare and submit to the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) an outdoor IPM (Integrated Pest Management) plan. The outdoor IPM plan must specify what measures may be taken to reduce the risks associated with mosquitoes and mosquito-borne disease. If you would like more information, please follow this link for the Children and Families Protection Act.
11. Why do I still have mosquitoes after spraying?
The product we use will eliminate any mosquito that it comes in contact with. There may be more mosquitoes in the area that the product has not come in contact with, and they may fly back onto your property even after we treated. Our spraying does not prevent mosquitoes – it only kills mosquitoes that are present during spraying. We welcome you to call again if the problem persists and we will re-treat the area when we are next in your town.
12. Can you come onto my property or come down my driveway?
Our ULV application is an area-wide application that is not meant to be targeted at individual yards. Since these applications are generally effective for about 300 feet off the road, under certain circumstances, we will come down your driveway provided that it is over 300 feet long (the length of a football field) and there is ample space for the driver to turn around. Driveway treatments are not guaranteed and are always at the discretion of the driver.
13. I have stagnant water and/or a stream on my property. What can I do?
We may be able to manually or mechanically restore water flow or drain off stagnant water through water management. Please check out our Water Management page and contact us with any questions or concerns.
If you have stagnant water on your property, we can check to see if it contains mosquito larvae and treat the water with a biological larvicide to kill the larvae. Generally, larvae are most abundant in stagnant water in the spring, but can be present after heavy rain events. You can make a request online or by calling the office.
14. Why not just use fish, dragonflies, birds, and bats to control mosquitoes naturally?
Mosquitoes do have natural predators that eat them as larvae and adults. In the natural environment, relatively few mosquitoes may be eaten by their predators, though. Fish, bats, dragonflies, and birds will eat many varieties of prey but will not feed exclusively on mosquitoes, therefore they can never control mosquitoes at a level that would make a noticeable difference to humans. Contrary to what many people believe, bats do not provide effective mosquito control. Bats generally seek out larger insects for food and mosquitoes make up a small portion of their diets.
15. Do your products kill bees and other pollinators?
Most of the time, mosquito control products are applied in a manner and time when bees are not active. The adulticide spray is present and active for a very short period after sunset when pollinators are rarely active. Daylight quickly breaks down the insecticides applied. Normally, beekeepers need not take any special precautions to further protect their colonies from products applied against mosquitoes. During emergency applications at the state level, registered beekeepers are notified of applications that might harm bees. Larvicides that we use (products used to kill mosquito larvae) will not contact bees nor cause them harm.
16. Are your products poisonous to people and the environment?
The products we use are selected to provide the greatest benefit with the least risk to the environment and public health. These products are registered by the Environmental Protection Agency after extensive review of data pertaining to their safety and efficacy. These products are also reviewed at the state level by the State Pesticide Board before they are approved for use in Massachusetts.
17. Can I use some old insecticides I have sitting around the house?
If an insecticide is not currently registered, then it is illegal to use it. Contact your local town hall office to find out about your town’s hazardous waste recovery day to properly dispose of outdated products.
18. Can I buy my own trap to control mosquitoes?
Many traps designed to kill mosquitoes are available to residents in the retail market. These traps often kill large numbers of mosquitoes, but until the source of the mosquitoes coming into your yard are controlled, the trap will often only scratch the surface of a larger problem. These traps can sometimes supplement control in a yard if they are placed well. We have had residents over the years tell us that these traps are a great help, and other people tell us they are worthless. Each residents local situation may determine how well these traps work for them.
19. What can I do to prevent mosquitoes from breeding on my property?
Mosquitoes will develop in almost any collection of stagnant water. Check areas around your yard to make sure tires, tarps, toys, kid’s pools, bird baths, etc. are not holding water for periods longer than a few days. If you have wetland areas on your property you can call us to treat these areas.
20. What can the NCMCD do that a homeowner cannot?
We can reduce populations of mosquitoes by eliminating their habitat where possible. We can apply insecticides carefully in response to community needs and disease risk. We can employ control measures on a much wider scale by performing work throughout neighborhoods and on town-owned properties.
21. What sort of skills and education do NCMCD personnel have to carry out this work?
Senior personnel have extensive scientific backgrounds in fields such as entomology, aquatic ecology, geology, wetland ecology, Global Information Systems (GIS) mapping technology, advanced computer training, and general biology.
All personnel are licensed by the State Pesticide Bureau. To maintain these licenses, the state requires continuing education (contact hours) in general pesticide use, and specifically in Category 47 known as the Mosquito and Biting Fly category. Employees attend the annual Northeastern Mosquito Control Association meeting as well as state-offered pesticide recertification workshops where these “contact hours” are accrued for this continuing education.
22. What do mosquito control workers do in winter?
In winter, we inspect & clean ditches that may otherwise promote mosquito development, we maintain and calibrate equipment, analyze the previous season’s data, and prepare plans for the upcoming season. Many of the pesticide training workshops and other state and federal mandated personnel training sessions are conducted during the winter months. All required operational permits and protocols are reviewed with appropriate local, state, and federal agencies and updated as necessary. We spend a great deal of the winter fine tuning procedures and strategies employed during the season. Annual attendance of professional regional and national mosquito control association conferences are critical as part of this overall review.
23. Where do mosquitoes go in winter?
Most adult mosquitoes in our area die in the late fall as a result of cold weather. Their eggs, however, are laid in areas that will ensure that, come spring, there will be mosquitoes to carry on the next generation. Some kinds of mosquitoes overwinter as adults by hiding in caves, tree holes, and houses; or overwinter as larvae under water in wetlands.
24. Doesn’t all this work cost a lot of money?
The average yearly cost per resident is about the same as a large cup of coffee (~$3.25). The pooled amount allows us to offer targeted services throughout the 25 towns.
25. Is there oversight on the NCMCD’s budget and activities?
Our budgets are initially reviewed by an independent Commission, appointed by the State Reclamation and Mosquito Control Board, to represent the community residents. The submitted budget is then reviewed and certified by the SRMCB itself, which is comprised of representatives of several state environmental agencies. All spending is processed and administered by the state’s Executive Office of Administration and Finance and the Department of Agricultural Resources where the SRMCB is housed. All spending is conducted in a manner consistent with federal, state, and local laws and regulations.
All operational activities of the program are done under the full regulatory scrutiny of agencies such as the Department of Agricultural Resources (Pesticides), the State Department of Environmental Protection (wetlands protections) as well as certain federal agencies such the Environmental Protection Agency (pesticides & wetlands) and the Army Corps of Engineers (wetlands).