Details About the Mosquito Spraying in Laurel

Mosquito Season has arrived and the City of Laurel will, once again, participate in the Maryland Department of Agriculture's Mosquito Control Program. This program consists of two parts, larviciding, and adulticiding. The larviciding is limited to public right-of-ways and areas where there are large amounts of standing water. The adulticiding phase consists of city-wide nighttime spraying. The City is scheduled for Sunday evenings when warranted.

The City understands the concerns of residents with respect to "spray" and "no spray." It is the City's goal to reduce the mosquito population using non-chemical methods so as to reduce the need for the Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) to spray.

The Non-chemical method requires community involvement, a good understanding of the lifecycle of the mosquito, the breeding grounds, and what is necessary for the mosquito to grow from larva to adulthood.

The best method for preventing the increase of mosquitoes is a coordinated community cleanup. The biggest nuisance is the Asian Tiger Mosquito (ATM) which will come out day and/or night. The ATM is a container breeder, it can lay its eggs in any standing water such as: old tires, children's toys, clogged gutters, bird baths, flowerpots, cans, bottles, wading pools and pet water dishes to name just a few. In addition to "containers," any low-lying areas in your yards that can hold water up to seven days may also be a mosquito breeding ground. Stopping mosquitoes at the larva stage is critical to mosquito control. Remember Tip it or Toss it. Containers of all sizes need to be tipped or tossed at least once per week.

If the MDA determines through their surveillance that the mosquito population reaches the threshold for spraying or if any trapped mosquito tests positive for a mosquito-borne disease, the MDA will spray on our scheduled night (Sunday). Mosquitoes can pose serious health issues. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), West Nile virus (WNV) is the leading cause of mosquito-borne disease in the continental United States. It is mostly spread to people through the bite of an infected mosquito. Some other mosquito-borne diseases are Zika and Eastern Equine Encephalitis.

The MDA is sensitive to citizens concerns about the type of spray and the method used to deploy the spray in neighborhoods. Every year, the MDA reviews the list of insecticides registered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and chooses which to use based on the product's effectiveness in controlling mosquitoes in residential and recreational areas.

In Laurel, the MDA uses truck-mounted, ultra-low volume (ULV) aerosol generators. This is the truck you see if your neighborhood is being treated. The principal insecticide applied for adult mosquito control in Maryland is a synthetic pyrethroid diluted in mineral oil. The active ingredients are Permethrin and piperonyl butoxide, the same active ingredients in lice shampoo and flea treatments for pets. The spray is applied at about 0.0031 pounds of active ingredient per acre. The ULV units disperse the insecticides over an effective swath width of 300 feet. Ideally, applications are made when wind velocity is 2 to 10 mph, temperature is 60 to 85 degrees, relative humidity is high and a temperature inversion exists. All applications are made at night, when these conditions typically exist and when most mosquito species are active. Nighttime application also protects pollinators that are active during the day.

Under Maryland State law all residents have the right to request to opt out of the program completely, this will eliminate any spraying within a 300-foot buffer from your street address. This will impact your neighbors on both sides and depending on the size of your street, also the neighbors across the street from you. A link to the form is attached below for your convenience. Please submit the form to Stormy Keyes. If you have already submitted a form for past years, it is not necessary to resubmit.

A hard copy should also be sent to the Annapolis address on the Maryland Plant Pests website.

Residents can find excellent videos under The "Mosquito Control Program" on this page and additional information on non-pesticide methods for mosquito control on the Environmental Programs page, check out Green Living resource page. There you will find more information and the videos for the Tip It or Toss It Program and the MDA's video explaining the Tip It or Toss It Program and the MDA's video on the lifecycle of the mosquito and additional tips to help reduce the mosquito population.

The Environmental Programs Manager can assist with providing additional information regarding the breeding habits and lifecycle of mosquitoes and an update as to the status of spraying will be published on Friday afternoons. If you would like additional information, please contact the Office of the City Administrator by calling 301-725-5300.