Mosquito Surveillance and Control in the Berkshires

This Spring and Summer, in the City of Pittsfield, the Berkshire County Mosquito Control Project (BCMCP) will be actively conducting their mosquito control initiative. By monitoring the larvae and adult mosquito population, BCMCP is able to determine high-risk regions within the city and confirm the presence of two mosquito borne viruses, West Nile Virus (WNV) and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE).   

WNV and EEE were found to be endemic to the city of Pittsfield in 2012.  These are viruses found in perching songbirds in freshwater swamps or urban environments.  The virus is spread through a population of birds through the bite of a mosquito.  These viruses can become more prevalent in an area through interactions between infected birds and infected mosquitoes.  Species of mosquitoes that bite birds and mammals indiscriminately can transmit the virus from the bird population to humans and domestic animals. 

The most effective way to control the mosquito population and prevent the spread of vector carrying disease is through larvae surveillance and management. BCMCP will utilize the Integrated Mosquito Management program as a method to reduce the need for Adulticide spray application in specified Berkshire County regions. Larvicide applications and source reduction (reducing breeding habitat by physical means) are employed throughout the mosquito breeding season to reduce the overall population size.  Adulticide applications may be employed during the months of June through September to specifically target adult mosquito populations and aim to remove older mosquitoes from the population as they are more likely to be infected and spread the virus. 

Thoroughly analyzing and testing the mosquito population throughout the season for virus is critical to understanding the potential risk to the population associated with each disease.  An automated mapping system, ARC Geographic Information System Technology, enables personnel the use of hand held devices while conducting surveillance in the field. The information generated from this tool helps BCMCP measure, identify, and record surveillance and plan treatment strategies.  

The Berkshire County Mosquito Control Project (BCMCP) Superintendent and the Pittsfield Board of Health will work closely throughout the Spring and Summer months on prevention, surveillance, communication and intervention activities.  

Information about mosquito disease and how to protect yourself and home is available at http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/gov/departments/dph/programs/id/epidemiology/providers/public-health-cdc-arbovirus-info.html

For information on pesticide application or to request an exclusion from area pesticide spraying, contact BCMCP at 413-447-9808 Monday through Friday 7:30 – 2:00 or email berkmc@bcn.net