Trucks will spray Brooklyn and Queens with pesticide to kill growing number of West Nile virus-infected mosquitoes

New York City plans to fight an infestation of West Nile virus carrying mosquitoes using pesticide sprays starting Tuesday. New York City's Department of Health issued a statement warning the public of a recent increase in disease-carrying mosquitoes. City trucks will drive through the neighbourhoods and spray low-grade pesticides from a sprayer in the bed.

The bulk of the pesticide will be sprayed between 8:30pm on Thursday and 6:00am on Friday. The city will spray either the Anvil or DeltaGard pesticides, which is effective against mosquitoes, fleas, ticks and has been used against human lice in the past.

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Trucks will spray in the following neighbourhoods in Brooklyn; Park Slope, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, Borough Park, Gowanus, Greenwood Heights, Kensington, and Windsor Terrace. In Queens, the following neighbourhoods will be sprayed; Forest Hills, Rego Park, Queensboro Hill, Pomonok, Kew Gardens Hills and Flushing.

Though the pesticides the city is using aren't especially harmful to humans, they have been known to cause irritation in particularly sensitive individuals.

New York City health officials are urging residents in these neighbourhoods to stay indoors as much as possible while the trucks are spraying, as exposure could cause irritation to the eyes and nose, rashes and worsen already existing respiratory issues in people sensitive to the chemicals. While the fight against disease-transferring mosquitoes isn't new, some states are employing new strategies to combat the flying pests.

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The state of Florida plans to release 750 million genetically modified mosquitoes into the Florida Keys between 2021 and 2022. The modified mosquitoes are designed to produce female offspring that die while still in their larval form.

Because only the female mosquito bite to draw blood, the researchers hope the introduction of the GMO mosquito will destroy the population of disease-carrying Aedes aegypti mosquitoes.

According to US-owned company Oxitec, the mosquitoes have also received federal approval to be released into Harris County, Texas in 2021.

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