Despite early requests from Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder for preventative measures against mosquitoes, south Queens is not scheduled to receive any such pesticide treatment from the Department of Health (DOH).
The area code 11414, which includes Howard Beach, Lindenwood and Hamilton Beach, was not included in DOH’s West Nile Virus Spray and Aerial Larviciding Schedule though residents have complained of an increasing mosquito population in these neighborhoods, according to Goldfeder.
“Families in Howard Beach, Lindenwood and Hamilton Beach have experienced multiple flooding events in the past few years and have seen an increase in abandoned properties following Sandy,” Goldfeder said. “These are the ideal conditions for mosquito breeding and the potential spread of deadly West Nile virus. The city needs to step up and include these communities in this summer’s West Nile spray schedule to help keep our families safe.”
Goldfeder wrote a letter to DOH Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett requesting that she include the area code in the agency’s spraying schedule. A spokesperson for DOH said the agency started spraying larvicide in every storm sewage catch basin in May. A second round of spraying is ongoing and a third round will be conducted in August. The spokesperson also said that DOH conducts weekly surveillance for West Nile activity throughout the city.
“Adulticide will be applied to carefully delineated areas only if the threat to humans is imminent in those areas,” the spokesperson said in an email. “Spraying adulticide in populated areas before we have any evidence of West Nile virus activity is neither appropriate, nor will it help protect public health.”
In June, DOH reported that it found mosquitoes carrying the disease in parts of the city, including Glen Oaks. Last summer, four people and 200 mosquito pools in Queens tested positive for the disease.
The DOH encourages people to report standing water on private property to 311 or online.