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News Release

RI Department of Environmental Management
235 Promenade St., Providence, RI 02908
(401) 222-2771 TDD/(401) 222-4462

For Release:

May 9, 2000


Gail Mastrati 222-4700 ext. 2402
Stephanie Powell 222-4700 ext. 4418


PROVIDENCE - The Town of Westerly, as it has done on a routine basis each year since 1996, will apply granules of mosquito larvacide by helicopter to 500 to 1,000 acres of swamp to control mosquito breeding. The town has notified adjacent landowners as well as the general public that they intend to apply the larvacide on Friday, May 12, between 8:30 a.m. and noon. It may also be distributed on future dates after notification by the town.

The Department of Environmental Management approved the town's application to apply the larvacide Bti for mosquito control to portions of Chapman's Swamp, McGowan Swamp, and the swamp area between Hespod Drive and Route 78. Bti is a naturally occurring bacterium, which is applied in granular form to swamps and other mosquito breeding habitats to prevent larval mosquitoes from developing into adults. It is one of the products being provided by DEM this spring to cities and towns to help them control mosquitoes, and is extremely safe from both an environmental and human health standpoint. Larvaciding by communities is part of the state's action plan for preparing for the possibility of West Nile Virus, first found in the United States, in New York, last summer. Although West Nile Virus has not been found in Rhode Island, the use of larvacide is the best way for communities to reduce mosquito numbers and risk.

The state is not advocating wide-scale aerial distribution of larvacide, and most communities will be applying larvacide into catch basins. Westerly's Chapman Swamp area is unique because of its large size, its inaccessibility and because of the 1996 presence there of mosquitoes carrying the Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) virus.

Westerly began using the larvacide Bti on a yearly basis after the EEE virus was found in mosquitoes breeding in Chapman Swamp.

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