• Are we out of the woods yet with mosquitoes and EEE? If not, when?

    By: John Monahan

    Updated:

    The threat for EEE is still critical in many cities and towns across Massachusetts, and on Tuesday aerial spraying is being done again in Plymouth and Bristol counties.

    And even as the weather cools in the area, the threat remains.

    "The spraying we do is meant to bring down the burden of mosquito population in general in those highest risk areas," said Dr. Monical Bharel, the Department of Public Health Commissioner. 

    Right now, roughly half the state is under risk for mosquitoes with EEE, a disease normally confined to wet low-lying southeastern coastal counties.

    "It's really rare for this problem to exist in this part of the state," said Shaun McAuliffe, the Health Director for Hopkinton.

    McAuliffe says this summer's rain patterns and warm weather provided ideal conditions for mosquitoes to breed. That threat decreases as it gets colder. 

    Related: Sudbury 5-year-old in critical condition with EEE, police say

    "As we dip into the 50s and get into the 40s, the risk of coming in contact with a mosquito diminishes, but it’s still there," McAuliffe said. 

    He says it takes a hard freeze to kill off mosquitoes and end the threat. 

    "It's not a 34, 'oh I got frost on my windshield,' it's two consecutive nights of 28 degrees," he explained. 
    And until then, these precautions are needed to protect yourself and your family:

    • Applying insect repellent with DEET
    • Avoid outdoor activities between dusk and dawn
    • Wear long-sleeve shirts and pants
    • And mosquito-proof your home.

    Keep those precautions in mind because a 2-day hard freeze needed to end mosquitoes didn't happen last year until after Halloween.

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