The Fire Island National Seashore mosquito surveillance and management program is the foundation for mosquito monitoring programs throughout the National Park Service (NPS). It was first implemented in 1998 in response to public concern over Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus (EEEV), but was expanded in 1999 when West Nile virus (WNV) was discovered in New York. The goal of this program is to reduce human health risk from mosquito-borne diseases while adhering to the NPS legal mandate to protect the natural resources of the park.
From July to October, NPS biologists capture mosquitoes at various locations throughout Fire Island and have them tested for WNV. The park also monitors for dead birds that may have died from WNV, specifically crows (Genus Corvus), hawk species (Family Accipitridae), and blue jays (Cyanocitta cristata). Testing of mosquitoes and dead birds is accomplished through a partnership with Suffolk County Vector Control (SCVC).
The monitoring program helps the park assess risk levels and select management actions in order to keep the public safe. Management actions may include notifying the public of potential health risks, conducting education programs, closing areas of the park to the public, and in most extreme cases, conducting pesticide applications.
Is It Safe To Spray?
An Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Plan for Fire Island National Seashore sets forth guidelines to use effective, low-risk methods that protect resources, visitors, and staff. Pests include insects, plants, diseases and other organisms that threaten natural and cultural resources or pose a threat to human health. Methods include manual, mechanical, cultural, biological and chemical applications.
All pesticides used within Fire Island National Seashore must be applied by or under the direct supervision of a State of New York certified pesticide applicator. All pesticides used in the park by residents, contractors, special use permittees, agricultural issues, or non-NPS personnel must conform to NPS policies and guidelines, and be approved before use. If the use of pesticides is necessary on park lands, the NPS would use low-risk pesticides to accomplish the desired objectives.
Asian Tiger Mosquito
You may have heard about the presence of an invasive non-native mosquito species called the Asian Tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus). While the Asian Tiger mosquito can transmit West Nile virus and Zika virus, it has not been shown to be a competent disease vector in this region. Cold winter temperatures prevent the spread of Zika in the region. Transmission of the Zika virus by mosquito has not been documented in the Northeastern United States.
Suffolk County Vector Control
Under a letter of authorization from the National Park Service, Suffolk County Department of Public Works, Division of Vector Control conducts scheduled spraying for adult mosquitoes in several of the towns and villages within the boundaries of Fire Island National Seashore. Individual residents may request that their property be excluded from nonemergency treatments: Suffolk County No Spray Registry
For more information on vector-borne diseases, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions's National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Disease web page and Suffolk County Mosquito Control.
Last updated: November 21, 2018