PROVIDENCE, RI – The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) announced today that it has begun distributing mosquito larvicide to communities to help control mosquito populations statewide this summer. Yesterday, DEM gave away a product called FourStar – in the form of a briquet that releases environmentally-benign bacteria over a 90-day period, requiring only one application per season – at the University of Rhode Island's East Farm campus in South Kingstown. Additional larvicide is available for purchase directly from the distributor. For more information, call State Mosquito Abatement Coordinator Al Gettman at 401-789-6280.
Larviciding is recommended as part of the state's action plan for West Nile Virus (WNV) and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) and considered an effective strategy to reduce mosquito populations and related disease risk. The FourStar briquets, which are placed in underground stormwater catchment basins that are prime breeding areas of mosquitoes carrying WNV, kill the mosquitoes in the larval stage. DEM and the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) recommend that cities and towns treat all underground catchment basins with larvicide.
DEM's larvicide distribution program began in 2000 when WNV was first detected in Rhode Island. Targeting underground stormwater catchment basins is a common practice used nationwide to decrease the production of adult mosquitoes and therefore reduce human risk of WNV in the urban environment. In related news, the state's annual surveillance for mosquito-borne diseases begins next week. Mosquitoes collected by DEM statewide are tested for EEE and WNV by RIDOH's State Health Laboratories. Results are reported weekly through early October.
For more information about DEM divisions and programs, visit www.dem.ri.gov or follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@RhodeIslandDEM), or Instagram (@rhodeisland.dem) for timely updates.