PROVIDENCE – The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management has rescheduled the aerial mosquito spraying originally set for Sunday, Sept. 8 to tonight, Monday, Sept. 9, beginning at sundown.
DEM announced on Friday that northern Rhode Island communities bordering areas considered at high risk for Eastern Equine Encephalitis infection in Massachusetts would be sprayed on Sunday evening.
According to DEM spokesperson Gail Mastrati, flights Sunday evening handled around 60,000 of the total 115,000 acres slated for spraying, hitting the communities of Coventry, West Warwick, Central Falls and Pawtucket. The remaining areas in Burrillville, North Smithfield, Woonsocket and Westerly are slated for Monday, beginning around 7 p.m.
“We won’t know the sequence of spraying the two remaining zones until wheels-up tonight,” Mastrati said.
During the aerial spray, health experts recommend shutting windows, turning off air conditioners and avoiding the outdoors. Some areas will be excluded, including drinking water reservoirs and natural areas that are not densely populated. Organic farms will reportedly also be excluded.
The work is expected to be completed by 4:30 a.m. Tuesday morning.
“While spraying is occurring, it is best to err on the side of caution and limit time outdoors and keep your windows closed,” noted a release from DEM. “The product being sprayed is being used at very low concentrations. No adverse health risks are expected with its use for mosquito control. However, it is generally good for people to limit their exposure to pesticides.”
Health experts say the pesticide being used has been used across the country for more than 30 years and that it is not permanently harmful to people or pets. Information on the insecticide can be found here.