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Why No Mosquito Sprayings in Eastern Baltimore County?

The state's mosquito control program for Baltimore County is without a home, forcing officials to prioritize efforts.

In a particularly active year for mosquitos, and a deadly year for the West Nile Virus, one might think that parts of Maryland with plenty of water—like eastern Baltimore County—might be first in line for a state mosquito spraying program.

"We know that the waterfront's always prone to mosquito activity," County Councilwoman Cathy Bevins said in an interview in her Towson office early this week. "I just don't understand it."

Earlier this month, state crews sprayed for mosquitos in Catonsville and Pikesville, with one more spraying scheduled for Pikesville on Oct. 1. So why haven't they sprayed on the east side?

The answer boils down to priorities and logistics. Mike Cantwell, program manager for the mosquito control section in the Maryland Department of Agriculture, said the spraying program for Baltimore County, once run out of a State Highway Administration facility in Dundalk, is without a home for the season.

Its former staging area had been condemned, Cantwell said, and he said state and county officials hope to have a new home for the spraying program by the time the 2013 mosquito season rolls around.

Until then, Cantwell said, the department is only equipped to spray in the county in cases where a human case of West Nile Virus has been confirmed.

"They have plenty of mosquitos [in eastern Baltimore County], but our ability to provide these services is extremely limited," he said, adding that an Anne Arundel County-based crew handled the sprayings on the west side.

Maryland has reported two deaths from West Nile Virus in the past two months, though state officials have not specified where in Maryland the deaths occured. Most people infected with West Nile won't show any symptoms, but 1 in 150 people will experience severe, possibly fatal complications, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Read more on the CDC website.

Bevins, an Oliver Beach Democrat, said the state's crews should spray on the east side before a public health risk occurs.

"We can not have this happen again next year," she said.

Sending crews in from other counties to do routine sprayings, however, would be "very ineffective," Cantwell said.

"We don't have spare equipment and people to be doing that," he said.

Al Day September 28, 2012 at 05:52 PM
It seems to go away for a while, then comes back months or even years later with internal damage that is devastating. I saw the effects first hand on someone I knew. They are no longer here due to it. You may want to minimize it if you wish, but once you see a casse first hand you probably will never do that again.
Al Day September 28, 2012 at 05:54 PM
Most times the damage is already done by the time you feel something to swat.
Tracey September 28, 2012 at 06:43 PM
of course no one was affected... in the short term. The consequences of spraying would just be part of the combined exposure to all the other chemicals and radiation in our lives: car exhaust, pollution, second hand smoke, leachates from plastics pesticides on food, etc. All of this exposure is chronic and manifest as things like autoimmune diseases and cancer, but not for years. I personally don't want it. I'd rather control it locally by dumping out standing water and either not going outside where I know I will be bit, or by wearing long pants and sleeves. While I'm sorry your friend died due to west Nile, chances are good of contracting some other disease later in life due to unnecessary exposure to harmful chemicals. If you check the link above there is a form you may submit to be excluded from the spraying. Well, at least at the distance of 300ft. from your property. http://www.mda.maryland.gov/plants-pests/mosquito_control/mosquito_control_policy.php
Gary Staab September 28, 2012 at 10:09 PM
About 2 weeks ago, I saw a small white truck with some sort of mosquito control writing on the side, pulling away from one of the many mosquito pits around Perry Hall and White Marsh. I guess he was checking the pits for infected mosquitos. Could that be why they're not spraying? Lack of infected mosquitos? And can someone tell me why we have all these pits in the first place? If it is for drainage, can't it be piped into the existing drainage so there is no standing water?
Joe Dolan September 29, 2012 at 01:48 AM
2,300 acres of unused property in Sparrows Point. Why can't that be used as a base?

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