Mosquito Services– Frequently Asked Questions


Submitted by Town of Bedford Health Department

Annually, the Town of Bedford utilizes mosquito control services provided by the East Middlesex Mosquito Control Project (EMMCP). The following are frequently asked questions the Bedford Health Department has received from residents. Answers were provided in collaboration with EMMCP.

  1. What services does the EMMCP provide to the Town of Bedford?
    Mosquito trapping and control services are provided to the Town of Bedford by the EMMCP. These services include annual (springtime, weather dependent) larviciding of select wetlands via helicopter and on foot, provision of larvicide for placement in catch basins, and truck mounted spraying to control adult mosquitoes. Throughout the year EMMCP traps mosquitos from up to five locations in town and analyzes them for thew presence of disease. For more information on the Project, their services and pesticides used, please visit the EMMCP website at: https://sudbury.ma.us/emmcp/
  2. When is the next truck mounted spraying?
    Targeted truck mounted spraying recently occurred throughout town on June 26 & 27 based on the observed mosquito population numbers. Future sprayings will occur based on population numbers and/or identified presence of disease in the population. Trapping mosquitos throughout the year helps EMMCP and the Town to determine specific times and locations of truck mounted sprays. It is advised that residents that see a spray truck approaching go indoors for a few minutes while the spray dissipates to minimize their contact with the pesticide.
  3. Once the spray is released from the truck, how long does it continue to kill mosquitoes?
    The spray can span up to 300 feet and travels through the air for a few minutes, killing mosquitoes for this duration. The spray then breaks down rapidly and does not leave a residue that kills mosquitoes. The spray is a pyrethroid (Zenivex E4) that affects the nervous system of the mosquito. Mosquitoes encounter the spray while flying in the air, which then causes them to fall to the ground. Zenivex E4 does not pose a significant risk to humans and animal as it is used in small concentrations to control mosquitoes.
  4. How does the town gather information about mosquito populations?
    There are five mosquito traps located across town. All traps are routinely monitored by the EMMCP entomologist to determine mosquito counts, species types and presence of disease. West Nile Virus (WNV) and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE or “Triple E”) are viruses that occur in Massachusetts and can cause illness ranging from a mild fever to more serious disease like encephalitis or meningitis. There are other diseases spread by mosquitoes that people may be exposed to when traveling in other regions of the world. These include Zika virus, Dengue fever, and Chikungunya. Data collected from the Bedford traps helps to determine spraying events and any additional mitigation that is needed.
  5. Does the truck service all streets in Bedford?
    Yes! The spray announcements list a representation of the streets in the target spray area on a given night, but the truck goes down all streets in Bedford that are included in the designated target area. Each spray event is mapped out with a target area based on the mosquito surveillance data from the traps. The truck services all the streets included in the target area for that specific spray event. The truck does not enter onto private property. Residents can exclude their property from being sprayed by the truck by navigating to: https://www.mass.gov/how-to/how-to-request-an-exclusion-or-optout-from-wide-area-pesticide-applications. EMMCP cannot spray within 300 feet of an excluded property.
  6. What can I do to limit mosquitoes on my property?
    Mosquito-proof your property by eliminating sources of standing water on your property.
    Remove, dispose of, or turn over empty containers so they are unable to collect rainwater.
    Drill holes in the bottom of containers that are left outdoors so that water can drain out.
    Clean out clogged roof gutters.
    Turn over plastic wading pools or wheel barrels when not in use. Keep swimming pools clean and properly chlorinated.
    Change the water in birdbaths every few days. Use landscaping to eliminate standing water that collects on your property.
    Cut shrubs and grass short to eliminate damp areas.
  7. How can I protect myself and my family from mosquito bites?
    Remember the three Ds:
    o Drain all sources of standing water.
    o Dress yourself in light colored and loose-fitting long sleeves and pants. Many mosquitos are attracted to dark colored clothing.
    o Defend against bites by applying an EPA registered insect/mosquito repellent.
    Keep mosquitoes outside your home by installing tight fitting screens on all windows and doors. Dusk to dawn is peak biting times for many mosquitoes. Consider rescheduling outdoor activities. Wear protective clothing such as long pants, long sleeve shirt, and socks. Use a repellent with DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide), permethrin, picaridin (KBR 3023), IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus [p-methane 3, 8-diol (PMD)] according to the instructions on the product label. Keep animal or pet vaccinations and medications current.

For more information on the composition of specific pesticides use the Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) tool at: https://www.epa.gov/insect-repellents/find-repellentright-you – search%20tool

The most current information about mosquitos in Massachusetts can be found on the Mosquito-borne Disease page on the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) website at: https://www.mass.gov/mosquito-borne-diseases. Additional information on Mosquito Services in Bedford and Mosquito-related materials are available by contacting the Bedford Health Department at 781-275-6507 or by accessing the Health Department website Mosquito Control page at: https://www.bedfordma.gov/250/Mosquito-Control

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