ANNAPOLIS — The Maryland Department of Agriculture’s truck-based adult mosquito control spray operation is underway and will continue throughout mosquito season.

The department began spraying participating Eastern Shore and southern Maryland communities earlier this week. More statewide spraying will begin next week.

Each year, the department works with about 2,500 communities in 16 counties across the state to survey and monitor mosquito populations and implement appropriate control activities.

“The primary goal of this program is to prevent the occurrence of mosquito-borne disease in humans, pets and livestock,” said Agriculture Secretary Joe Bartenfelder. “With the threat of Zika virus in Maryland, our spraying operations have never been more necessary."

Most spraying is done in response to increasing populations of mosquitoes emerging from low lying freshwater wetlands. This emergence of mosquitoes typically coincides with the longer and warmer days of spring.

The truck-based spray program uses the insecticide Permanone 30-30, a synergized synthetic pyrethroid product that provides effective control of adult mosquitoes in residential and recreational areas.

Concern over local transmission of Zika virus may lead to an increase the department’s spray activity. If there is a high risk of Zika virus transmission due to suspect mosquito activity or a human case of Zika, the department, in cooperation with state and local health officials, will spray for adult mosquitoes within 24 to 48 hours in a prescribed area of concern. The spray will kill any adult mosquitoes that may be carrying the virus.

Inspectors will then go door-to-door in the area of concern to inspect properties for mosquito breeding sites and conduct residual spraying.

In order to eliminate mosquito breeding sites and reduce the threat of disease, citizens should dump, drain or treat all items in their yards that collect rainwater every three or four days.

Unscheduled spraying is posted on the department’s Mosquito Control webpage and on the @MdAgMosquito and @MdAgDept Twitter accounts. Visit the department’s Zika website for tips on ridding a property of mosquito breeding zones, preventing mosquito bites and more.

Communities can sign up at the MDA's website to participate in the mosquito control program. A list of participating communities and their weekly spray night is posted there.

Communities interested in participating in the program should call the department’s regional offices. On the Shore, call the Salisbury office at 410-543-6626.

Residents in participating communities who wish to exclude their owned or leased property from nuisance mosquito control spraying must submit a request in writing to the department.

In addition to the department’s truck-based spray operations, the department's Mosquito Control operates a larviciding-by-air program on the Shore to control mosquito larvae in wetlands and salt marshes. This reduces the need to spray for adult mosquitos by killing larvae before they can develop into adults and fly into populated areas.

In situations where high mosquito populations are prevalent or a threat to public or animal health, the department will conduct aerial adulticide applications to control the mosquito population. 

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