New York City experienced record-breaking levels of mosquito activity last year, according to the Department of Health. And with increased mosquito activity comes an increased risk of exposure to mosquito-borne diseases like the West Nile virus.
The unusually large amount of mosquitoes last year could be attributed to warm and wet weather conditions, which is a trend expected to continue this year.
In fact, temperatures are expected to be warmer than usual throughout March to August, which is likely to bring about an earlier and more active mosquito season in 2022.
How New York City Handles Mosquitoes
Each summer, the Department of Health aims to control mosquito activity throughout the city by using helicopters to spray eco-friendly mosquito larvicides over marshes and natural bodies of water and by using trucks to spray pesticides in residential neighborhoods and parks.
Other aspects of city’s integrated pest management approach to mosquito control includes trapping and testing programs, as well as reducing areas of standing water where mosquitoes lay their eggs.
Public application of pesticides by the Department of Health occurs during peak mosquito season. Aerial larvicide is applied in the earlier months, usually around the beginning of June or July, followed by adulticide (pesticides that target adult mosquitoes) applied on different days throughout the summer and fall.
According to the Department of Health website these two types of mosquito control events involve:
- Adulticide: Trucks spray this pesticide to kill adult mosquitoes. It is used when testing has shown a high risk to human health. Spraying occurs in the evening in residential areas and parks.
- Aerial Larviciding: Helicopters drop eco-friendly larvicide over marshes and other large natural areas to kill young mosquitoes before they become adults. The City does not use helicopters to treat residential areas.
These mosquito spraying events fall on different days for each neighborhood, and notices are posted on the website.
Not all neighborhoods are sprayed for mosquitoes, and of those that are, most are sprayed only once for the entire season, according to the city’s mosquito control plan for the past three years (from 2019 to 2021).
As of writing this article, the mosquito spraying schedule for 2022 has not yet been released.
Map of New York City Mosquito Spraying in 2021
This map shows the various areas and neighborhoods in New York City that were sprayed for mosquitoes in 2021. At the bottom of the map is a list of specific zip codes in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island scheduled for adulticide and larvicide application.
Last year, officials reported record-breaking levels of mosquito activity, which is reflected in the increase in mosquito spraying events. In 2021, there were 21 days of scheduled spraying, compared to 17 days in 2020 and 16 days in 2019.
Based on the forecasted temperatures and mosquito activity in 2022, New Yorkers should expect a similar amount mosquito control response by the city this summer.
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