Mosquitoes in Massachusetts: What Are We to Do?

By Pam Rockwell, OARS Board of Directors

Here in Eastern Massachusetts we live with two rare but serious mosquito-borne illnesses, Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) and West Nile Virus (WNV). Recently the Zika virus has been in the news and it is also spread by mosquitoes. Mosquitoes are also an important player in our local ecosystem as a food source for fish, amphibians, and birds. Pesticides used to control mosquitoes can adversely affect other animals in the ecosystem, especially bees. And traditional mosquito habitat control (filling in wetlands) is not an effective control for our local mosquitoes, which thrive in suburban environments. In protecting ourselves from disease, we do not want to inadvertently cause more harm than good.

Scientific evaluation and an early response is the key to effective mosquito-borne illness control. The State Reclamation and Mosquito Control Board oversees mosquito control in the Commonwealth. But some environmental groups suggest that the Mosquito Control Board system could be improved by adding more public health representatives, doing better follow-up surveillance on the effects of pesticides on other insects and animals, and limiting nuisance spraying.

Mosquito-borne diseases

How to reduce mosquito habitats

How to protect yourself from mosquito-borne diseases

Using pesticides to prevent mosquito-borne diseases

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