West Nile virus in Vermont

Avoiding mosquito-borne diseases like West Nile virus is a primary motivation for mosquito control. Since it was first confirmed in the US in 1999, West Nile virus has infected more than 46,000 people in the US and more than 2,000 people have died. Mosquitoes infected with West Nile virus have been found in every Vermont county in past years, so this threat should not be ignored. However, between 1999 and 2016, only 12 cases of West Nile virus were reported in people in Vermont (Figure 1).

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Permethrin factsheet

The BLSG Insect Control District sprays pesticides along town roads to kill adult mosquitoes. The most recent public notice from the District identifies the pesticides as “malathion or synthetic pyrethroid insecticides.” Permethrin is the most commonly used synthetic pyrethroid. It is considered to be much less toxic to humans than malathion, and is sometimes less effective for controlling mosquitoes.

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EPA’s guidance for reducing exposure to malathion

There is a lot of information available about the pesticides used in the BLSG Insect Control District. The most recent public notice from the District identifies the pesticides as “malathion or synthetic pyrethroid insecticides.” On the EPA’s mosquito control website, the page about malathion suggests that “people who are especially concerned may choose to take some of these steps to help reduce exposure”:

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Become a no-spray zone

The BLSG Insect Control District allows property owners along spray routes to request that no spraying be done along their property. To “opt out” you must mail a letter with your name and address and a copy of your property’s tax map. Letters must be sent by early April each year. If you would like a copy of your property’s tax map in Brandon, Leicester, Salisbury, Goshen, or Pittsford, submit your information at this Google form. MW&W will send you an email with an image of your parcel. Instructions for submitting your request are on the Google form.

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The BLSG district

The BLSG Insect Control District includes the towns of Brandon, Leicester, Salisbury, Goshen, and Pittsford. We are not the only insect control district in Vermont, but we are the only one where pesticides are sprayed to control adult mosquitoes. In addition to treating many acres of standing water to kill mosquito larvae, malathion or permethrin are sprayed in a fine mist from a slow moving truck along some town roads.

Below is a map of the five towns currently in the BLSG district.

Promoting a safe and healthy Moosalamoo region

Moosalamoo Woods & Waters is a local citizens group promoting safe and healthy environments in the Moosalamoo region of Addison and Rutland counties, Vermont.

We are residents of Brandon, Leicester, Salisbury, Goshen, and Pittsford which are in the BLSG Insect Control District. Sometimes mosquitoes are a serious nuisance in parts of these towns, so the state and member towns fund a quasi-municipal group to monitor and reduce mosquito larvae and to control adult mosquitoes along roads.

Our interests include answering questions about the biology of mosquitoes, the practicality of pesticide spraying, and alternate methods of mosquito control.