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Spraying for mosquitoes upcoming on Fire Island

A member of Suffolk County's Division of Vector

A member of Suffolk County's Division of Vector Control uses a pesticide machine for ground spraying along a boardwalk in Ocean Bay Park, part of an larger effort on Fire Island against the mosquito population, in July 2011. Credit: Newsday/Steve Pfost

County crews on Fire Island will carry out ground spraying Monday and Tuesday to control mosquitoes, Suffolk Department of Health Services officials announced Friday.

Weather permitting, public works crews will spray the pesticide Anvil with "ultra low volume aerosol" on boardwalks and streets in Ocean Beach and Fire Island Pines on Monday from 6 to 10 p.m., officials said.

The spraying will occur Tuesday from 6 to 11:30 p.m. in Ocean Bay Park, Seaview, Davis Park and Point O’Woods, they said.

Sumithrin, a man-made insecticide, is the main active ingredient in Anvil. The pesticide usually is applied in very low concentrations, so the chance of adverse health effects is low, according to the state Department of Health's website.

Short-term exposures to very high levels of man-made pesticides similar to sumithrin can affect the nervous system, causing loss of coordination, tremors, tingling and numbness in areas of skin contact. 

Suffolk health officials said steps should be taken to reduce pesticide exposure before and after spraying, especially by pregnant women and children. 

The materials used by the public works' Division of Vector Control should not leave significant residue on surfaces, authorities said.

The county health department suggests the following:

  • Remain indoors during the spraying and 30 minutes afterward.
  • Close windows, doors and the vents of air-conditioning units, which also can be turned off before the spraying starts. Reopen about 30 minutes after spraying. 
  • Rinse eyes immediately if pesticides get in them.
  • Wash exposed skin.
  • Wash clothes that come in contact with the pesticide, and wash separately from other laundry.

Before the spraying, health officials suggest, pick homegrown fruits and vegetables you soon expect to eat and bring laundry and toys inside. In addition, they advise bringing pet food and water dishes inside and covering ornamental fish ponds during the spray period to avoid direct exposure. Items exposed to pesticides should be washed with detergent and water.

For more information, contact Suffolk County's vector control division at 631-852-4270 and the spraying information hotline at 631-852-4939. Spray notices are posted at www.suffolkcountyny.gov/Departments/Health-Services/Public-Health/Preventive-Services/Pesticide-Application-Notification.

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