Mosquitos: An Integrated Management Plan
Reported by Christine Boucher
February 16, 2022 – Entomologist, Aubrey Paolina from the Cape Cod Mosquito Control Project (CCMCP) joined Brewster Conservation Trust for a very informative conversation about mosquitoes. I was “stung” by how little I knew about the 33 species of mosquitos we have on the Cape and this project. CCMCP was founded in 1928 to manage mosquito populations year-round for the comfort and health of residents and visitors. It is one of 11 groups in MA that is part of the Reclamation Mosquito Control Board regulated by the MA Department of Agriculture and funded by our towns. Just because it is winter does not mean their crews are dormant. Quite the opposite, they are currently implementing their Integrated Water Management Plan that includes donning waders to keep the water flowing in ditches, unclogging pipes, and cutting access paths so they can traverse the insects’ habitats in the spring. I never imagined mosquito control could look so “fly”!
For CCMCP, April means larvae surveillance time across both fresh and saltwater sites. If they find larvae, they apply a licensed, environmentally friendly, bacterium larvicide that will cause the insect to rupture from within when eaten. If the insect has grown into the pupa stage, mineral oil can limit their oxygen transfer; they sink to the bottom and die. From June through September when the pupa turns into a mosquito, they feed on nectar from plants to get their energy. Only when the females are getting ready to lay eggs do they look for a nutrient-rich blood meal. This is where West Nile Virus or Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) virus is introduced via an infected bird and spread to humans. Due to this, from June to September CCMCP is field trapping, identifying, and testing mosquitos at their lab and sending their findings to the state. The “pesky” statistics will be analyzed and published for the public.
To keep away these varmints, it is suggested that you wear long loose light-colored clothing, dump out any standing water around your house, unclog your gutters, and drill holes in the bottom of tire swings. If you do have a pond or other standing water on your property that is “bugging” you, call CCMCP and they can make suggestions or schedule a visit at no charge.
Cape Cod Mosquito Control Project
Christine Boucher is a Brewster resident and BCT volunteer. Christine is a Meteorologist and Climate Advocate. She is currently a Master’s student at John Hopkins University studying Climate and Energy Public Policy. She sits on the Brewster Housing Authority and Community Preservation Committee and admits to having a passion for documenting the dune erosion at the national seashore.