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First comes water, then comes mosquitoes

Union Leader Correspondent

April 12. 2013 12:41AM

DERRY - Spring brings the rain that creates pools of stagnant water, which in turn increases the threat of mosquito-borne illness.

The mosquito control program for the town began last week, when crews from Dragon Mosquito Control in Brentwood began checking swamps, marshes, woodland pools, ditches, storm drains, and other stagnant water for mosquito larvae.

Testing for mosquito-borne diseases associated with adult mosquitoes, such as West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis typically takes place later in the season. If either disease is found in Derry or surrounding towns, the town could give the go-ahead for spraying for adult mosquitoes at a number of local parks and schools.

Dragon Mosquito Control president Sarah MacGregor said she expects to see a moderate mosquito population this spring.

"Heavy snow in the winter does contribute to a heavier mosquito population in the spring," she said. "We're seeing fairly good numbers of mosquito larvae in the water right now, but it is getting dry out there. So it's difficult to say what the mosquitoes will be like this summer. A lot could happen between April and June."

Heavy rains produce more mosquitoes and more EEE, while a drought results in fewer mosquitoes, but more West Nile Virus, MacGregor said.

Last year, positive test results in surrounding towns led to two rounds of spraying in Derry at the Barka School, Derry Village School, East Derry School, Grinnell School, Hood School, South Range School, West Running Brook School, Alexander-Carr Park, Don Ball Park, MacGregor Park, Rider Fields, Veterans Field, Calvary Bible Church, Pinkerton Academy and the Pinkerton practice field.

Each round of spraying cost just over $5,000, but about 80 percent of that cost was reimbursed by the school district, Pinkerton Academy, and Calvary Bible Church, according to assistant town administrator Larry Budreau.

During a discussion last year over the possibility of implementing a standing water fine to lower the risk of mosquito-borne illness, Budreau noted that in the state, less than 1 percent of mosquito pools tested positive for EEE or West Nile Virus. And there was only one human case of West Nile Virus and no cases of EEE. The Town Council took no action to move forward with a standing water fine.

Residents who do not want their wetlands treated can use Dragon Mosquitoes no-spray registry online at

Derry residents who would like to have their stagnant water checked for mosquitoes can call 734-4144 or email

Environment Health Public Safety Derry

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