Mosquito Spraying Opt-Out

Information regarding "Opting-Out" of Aerial Spraying by the State Reclamation and Mosquito Control Board 

M.G.L. Chapter 252, Section 2A(b)(2) allows a municipality to opt out of spraying, either aerial or other mosquito control spraying, conducted by the State Reclamation and Mosquito Control Board (“SRMCB”) performed under M.G.L. c. 252, Section 2A(a).

For the SRMCB to recognize a municipal opt-out, the municipality must first have an alternative mosquito management plan (“Plan”) approved by the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (“EEA”).

This year, Gloucester is unable to meet the requirements for being an opt-out community and encourages residents to apply as individual property owners or tenants.

Please note that exclusions/opt out requests will not be honored if:

  • The Commissioner of Public Health has certified that the application is to be made to protect the Public Health;
  • The Commissioner of the Department of Conservation and Recreation has certified that the application is necessary to contain an infestation of a recently introduced pest; or
  • The Commissioner of the Department of Agricultural Resources has certified that the application is necessary to contain an infestation of a pest which is a significant threat to agriculture.

How can I opt-out as a homeowner or tenant?

Yes.  You can apply online with the State to opt-out as a property owner or tenant. Requests may be submitted at any time during the year and will go into effect 14 days from the date the request is made. All requests will expire December 31st in the calendar year in which they are received.

Why didn’t the City “Opt-Out” itself this year?

Last year, Gloucester was considered a “low-risk” community under the State’s guidelines. As such, the City was able to opt-out based on its application that included a proactive and escalated approach to education and outreach, with response actions stemming from the Department of Public Health’s (DPH) EEE threat levels.

This year, the guidelines have changed significantly, whereby Gloucester is deemed to be in a “high-risk” region, because of a history of EEE cases in adjacent communities.

Due to the “high-risk” region designation, our opt-out application to the EEA “…must demonstrate it can perform significant mosquito management and control measures that will address risk levels otherwise requiring state action, including the ability to perform work equivalent to that undertaken by the SRMCB in the event of a public health hazard related to arbovirus. 

This includes proof of ability to perform comprehensive active interventions, such as adulticide applications (both aerial and ground) and include detailed information on how such activity will be conducted in compliance with applicable state and federal law.

In other words, even if Gloucester chose to opt-out, the City must demonstrate an ability to perform spraying community-wide, regardless. Where that capability does not exist within the City, Gloucester must hire a private company, or participate in the Northeast Mosquito Control District and pay to have those services available.

When is aerial spraying of insecticides considered?

In situations where there is a high risk of human disease over a large geographic area – and the risk is not effectively being reduced by use of personal protection and truck-based spraying -- the response may include an aerial pesticide sprayed in the evening and overnight hours to reduce the number of infected, adult mosquitoes in areas of high risk. This allows for the rapid treatment of large areas of high concern that are not accessible by truck-mounted ground sprayers.

When is aerial spraying of insecticides considered?

In situations where there is a high risk of human disease over a large geographic area – and the risk is not effectively being reduced by use of personal protection and truck-based spraying -- the response may include an aerial pesticide sprayed in the evening and overnight hours to reduce the number of infected, adult mosquitoes in areas of high risk. This allows for the rapid treatment of large areas of high concern that are not accessible by truck-mounted ground sprayers.

How can I be notified if there are plans to spray in my area?

State law requires that “The [State Reclamation and Mosquito Control] board shall provide notice of the methods employed pursuant to subsection (a), including the locations, the particular product to be sprayed, any health risks associated with the product, and dates and times of aerial spraying or other wide-area emergency operations, not less than 48 hours before the application of such an operation to entities within the affected areas, including: (i) appropriate local and regional boards and commissions, including boards of health; (ii) property owners who have opted out of spraying based on exclusions pursuant to applicable regulations governing pesticide application; (iii) agricultural entities, including beekeepers, cranberry growers, certified organic farms and aquaculture facilities; and (iv) any other person who informs the board through a form made available on the board’s website that they wish to be informed of aerial spraying in their region.”

You can receive notifications by applying online here 

How can I see if my property was included for aerial spraying? 

You can go to the State's Emergency Response to Mosquito-Borne Virus: Aerial Spray Map

In the event of a planned emergency mosquito control operation, this mapping tool can be used to view areas targeted for treatment or to determine whether an address is inside the spray area. PLEASE NOTE - notification of spraying can take place within as little as 48-hours of the decision to do so, although it takes upwards of 14-days for an opt-out application to be processed.

What pesticides are commonly used in aerial spraying?

The most common pesticide used is Anvil 10+10, a product extensively tested and used to control mosquitoes in both ground-level and aerial spraying in the U.S. Anvil 10+10 contains two ingredients: Sumithrin and piperonyl butoxide. Sumithrin is an ingredient similar to the natural components of the chrysanthemum flower and is also found in other pesticide products used indoors, in pet shampoos, and tick control treatments.

Where can I find more information?

You can find more information, such as possible impacts on pets, bees, other insects or animals, on the State’s Mosquito Control and Spraying website.