Continue Program to Control Mosquito Population In Pittsfield, Massachusetts
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This petition will be sent to the City Council and Board of Health of Pittsfield, Massachusetts to request that the Board of Health continue to support, and the City Council continue to fund, Pittsfield’s participation in the Berkshire County Mosquito Control Program (BCMCP). Over the past several years, under the direction of Superintendent Christopher Horton, the mosquito control program has been very effective in preventing the spread of West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis. We believe this program is essential to the health, safety, and quality of life of Pittsfield residents. We believe this is done without compromising the health of our residents. We submit the following facts in support of this request:
In 2017, just over 8% of the samples sent to the state tested positive for West Nile Virus.
In 2017, three (3) one-mile radius sprays were completed as a direct attack on the spread of mosquitoes carrying West Nile Virus.
In 2017, no cases of transmission to humans occurred in Pittsfield.
All products used by the BCMCP are EPA-approved and, through the approval process, there is a guarantee that if the product is used according to label instructions it will not harm humans or the environment. There is a label requirement that usage instructions must be followed by law. BCMCP is using the product according to label instructions.
Scientific, peer-reviewed studies document the fact that the products being used by the BCMCP to spray for mosquitoes break down when contacted by sunlight or water. The products have a very short life in the environment.
The strategy used by BCMCP significantly mitigates any unintentional impact to other non-target species. Spraying, when needed, is done at night when the non-target species are not active.
Other methods, such as the use of bats or birds to control mosquito population, are not effective in controlling mosquito population due to the exponentially higher rate at which mosquitoes breed as compared to the rate at which bats or birds breed.
Without the capability to spray targeted areas to prevent the spread of West Nile Virus or Eastern Equine Encephalitis when it is found in Pittsfield, the population of infected mosquitoes in Pittsfield will explode. This will cause many more birds to die and expose our residents to a greater risk of contracting these diseases. Note that West Nile Virus is the largest killer of birds in over 100 years.
We respectfully urge the City Council and Board of Health members to look at the facts and peer-reviewed studies from the EPA, Massachusetts Department of Public Health, and Center for Disease Control and continue to fund the Berkshire County Mosquito Control Program to keep the residents of Pittsfield from contracting West Nile Virus or Eastern Equine Encephalitis from infected mosquitoes.
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