Mosquito Spraying Starts, Trustees Launch Larvae Survey

The Suffolk County Department of Public Works' division of vector control plans to apply larvicide to multiple salt marshes in the Towns of East Hampton and Southampton on Wednesday and Thursday. The action is to control mosquitoes through the application of methoprene and Bti by helicopter flying at low altitude.

Marshes in Napeague and Beach Hampton in Amagansett, and Accabonac Harbor in East Hampton, are to be treated between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. In the Town of Southampton, the county is to treat Stokes Poges, Jagger Lane, Moneybogue Bay, Westhampton Dunes, Dune Road, Meadow Lane, North Haven, Iron Point, and North Sea. Marshlands in Babylon, Islip, Brookhaven, Riverhead, Southold, and Smithtown were also to be treated.

On Monday, members of the East Hampton Town Trustees, the Nature Conservancy, and the vector control division are to hold a training session for a weekly mosquito larvae sampling program in Accabonac Harbor that is to continue until the middle of August. In a trial program, trustees and volunteers will collect samples, sending data to vector control every Monday morning, the hoped-for outcome a more finely targeted, minimized use of methoprene. The program follows a meeting among county officials, Legislator Bridget Fleming, and the trustees.

Mosquitoes can carry West Nile virus, eastern equine encephalitis, and other diseases. Although methoprene is registered by the federal Environmental Protection Agency and the State Department of Environmental Conservation and is applied in accordance with required state and federal permits, its use is controversial on the South Fork. Many environmentalists, scientists, and elected officials have agitated for a ban on the larvicide, which they argue is harmful to nontarget species, including lobsters, crabs, and fish.