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Adulticiding Procedures: updated 20-Jan-16




Adulticide Program Commencement:


CMMCP’s adulticide program starts in late May or early June to coincide with the emergence of spring brood mosquitoes. The program ends in August or September as the adult mosquito population begins to decline and low evening temperatures make adulticide spraying inadvisable.  Both the start date and the end date of the adulticide program relate directly to the current adult mosquito population, status of vector-borne diseases and the prevalent weather conditions. These dates will vary from year to year. Adulticiding is done by CMMCP after astronomical sunset up until astronomical sunrise.


The adulticide program responds to requests from residents or town officials in our service area, or to the threat of mosquito-bore illness as defined by the local Board of Health or the Mass. Dept. of Public Health. No area-wide, random, indiscriminate spraying is performed by CMMCP. We respond only to requests from the public, town or state officials to initiate the adulticide process. Prior to any adulticide operation, surveillance is gathered to gauge the current mosquito population in the area to be sprayed, we ascertain the current weather conditions, and establish other factors that may influence the efficacy of the application. Surveillance data may be gathered in a variety of ways, by light traps, gravid traps, landing counts or other means. No application of any product for the control of adult mosquitoes will be performed if the mosquito population is too low, or if weather conditions may inhibit an application or is against the information listed on the product label. If a town is scheduled for a given evening and no adulticide requests were received, we will only perform landing rates or provide other services in town. All landing rate information is placed in a database to be analyzed for prevalent species, population counts, etc. Landing rates are suspended when mosquito-borne viruses have been identified in Massachusetts or when other factors indicate that they are not advisable.





Adulticide Notifications:


1.     Each year in late January or early February we send a letter to each Town/City Clerk with information about the pesticide exclusion process from 333CMR, the Massachusetts Pesticide Regulations. We outline the procedure for “Exclusions from Applications”, and request the Town/City Clerk inform the public in their town about this process. Suggested means are local newspapers, posted notices and on local cable stations. In early April we contact all Town & City Clerks and pick up all registered exclusion letters they have received up to that date. Clerks will call the CMMCP office when additional exclusions are received and these are usually faxed to our office to be placed immediately on the exclusion list. CMMCP will continue to receive exclusions throughout the year by phone, fax and e-mail, and these exclusions are added to the list as soon as our office receives them.


2.     A minimum of 2 weeks prior to the start of each month in the summer spray season, CMMCP will send a schedule to the Town/City Clerk, Board of Health, Police Departments and other departments as requested by the town outlining the scheduled days and evenings we will be in their area. They are notified that some additional work may be performed off-schedule, usually as a result of high mosquito populations, mosquito-borne disease or weather factors. Specific spray areas are not outlined to the towns at this point due to continuing incoming service requests and the surveillance that needs to be gathered before each application is performed.


3.     Each evening CMMCP schedules any applications, a list with the potential spray areas including resident’s name and address is given to the local Police Department by our field staff. This is the only time CMMCP will release a resident’s name unless directed to do so by higher authorities, and the Police Department is asked to keep the information confidential. This list also includes emergency contact information should the Police Department need to contact personnel at CMMCP for any reason.


4.     After 3:30PM each day, the website maintained by CMMCP will list all potential spray areas for the evening. This is the same list given to the Police Department but does not include the resident’s name or exact address, only the town & street name.


5.     The CMMCP phone system will also have a recording with the list from the website, and is operational after 3:30PM. During business hours all requests for this information is handled in person by CMMCP staff.


6.     On rare occasions and only under specific instances, CMMCP field staff will contact residents listed on the exclusion list directly to inform them that an application may be done in their area, and that their property will be excluded from this application. The instances will include medical and/or other extraordinary reasons. CMMCP office and field staff is not able to contact everyone on the exclusion list prior to each scheduled application. CMMCP field staff makes every effort to contact all exclusion properties at least once per year but time constraints may not make this possible. Residents are expected to use the CMMCP notification process as outlined in sections 4 & 5 above to keep informed of the scheduled spray areas.


7.     Residents requesting service are notified prior to an application performed in their area in person or by a note left at their door. Field staff will survey the areas to determine the extent of the application, look for additional larval areas, and educate the resident about basic mosquito biology and proper sanitation methods to reduce mosquito breeding in their yards. The resident will be questioned to see if special circumstances exist, such as any health concerns, areas in the yard to concentrate on or avoid, etc. The field technicians are also available to answer any questions the resident may have at that time. Brochures and other literature are given to all service requests with additional information.


We recognize the difficulty in the notification process, and we strive to inform as many people as possible regarding our adulticiding, but it is also the responsibility of all residents to be informed of any procedures that they require information about.







Adulticide Service Requests:


1.     The most common form of adulticide request CMMCP receives comes from residents contacting CMMCP via telephone or e-mail with a health concern or nuisance complaint from mosquitoes. Occasionally a resident will visit CMMCP’s headquarters and voice a mosquito related concern or complaint, and some requests are received by fax.


2.     If a member of a business or condo association, or anyone requesting adulticiding for an area not in their direct control requests an application, this request must be faxed to CMMCP on official letterhead, and must contain a contact name and phone number. CMMCP will schedule an application, with a rain date, and then call back the contact person with the dates. CMMCP informs the contact that a notice should be posted in any and all visible areas with the program information, potential dates and our phone number as well as the requesting contact person’s information.


3.     Member town or state officials will contact CMMCP with requests on behalf of a constituency or group.


4.     Residents may contact a CMMCP employee in the field and request adulticide service. The request may be investigated then if time allows, but any adulticide spraying may have to wait for proper notification to be placed if not already done so.


All requests for service are databased in the CMMCP computer system with town, date, name, address, service information, data collected, product application information & applicator comments. This database is kept confidential unless CMMCP is informed by higher authorities to release the information.


Surveillance before an application:


Surveillance before an application may be gathered in many ways, but the most common method is called a “landing count”. Field technicians are dispatched to the general area that the adult mosquito service requests have been received and perform this procedure. A landing count consists of a field technician counting the number of mosquitoes that land on their person during a specified time. Landing counts generally take place in the late afternoon or early evening when many mosquito species become more active. The number of mosquitoes landing per minute is then recorded along with other information such as time, date, temperature, wind speed, and cloud cover. Weather information is gathered by means of electronic devises such as the Kestrel® portable weather station.  Landing counts allow us to determine if our application is necessary and if the optimal conditions exist. Weather conditions also play a large role. The temperature and wind speed must not conflict with label restrictions. If mosquitoes are determined not to be in the area in sufficient numbers, or weather conditions are not favorable, we do not perform the application. This service requested will then be turned back into the CMMCP office to be rescheduled. Landing counts provide information about mammal-biting species that is used by applicators to help determine if there is a need for an adulticide application. We also use the collected adult mosquito samples from these landing counts to identify exactly what type of mosquito is prevalent in the area at that time and may help to tailor our larvicide program in the future. All landing counts are databased in the CMMCP computer system. Landing counts will not be utilized in vector control situations once virus has been identified and will be suspended for the rest of the season. Surveillance data can also be gathered by light traps, gravid traps or sent over by the Department of Public Health.


Extent of the Application:


All field staff employed by CMMCP is licensed and/or certified by the Massachusetts Pesticide Bureau. They received training to identify mosquito larvae and adults, and on the complexities in performing adulticide applications. The extent of any given application is based on many factors; current mosquito populations, weather conditions, number of requests received in an area, topography, exclusion properties and other aspects. All exclusion properties in the area are identified in the daytime and if time allows the resident is contacted. We employ 2 means of adulticiding, truck-mounted and portable sprayers. A field technician may use one or both of these devises, depending on the circumstances at the time. The application may be limited to the back yard(s), or may be extended out to included parts of, or whole neighborhoods. Listed exclusions in the area and other political or civic situations will also determine the extent of any application. The field technician is given discretion in the extent of the application according to the situation at the time and using their best judgment according to their experience and training. All applicators are in full communication with other field staff and office personnel during their shift. All spraying is done in accordance with the MSDS and label of the product in use at that time.


Timing of Applications:


·       Early to late evening: This is a time when many mosquito species are active and the product we use is most effective.  The overwhelming majority of spraying by CMMCP is done during this timeframe.  It also is a time that reduces the exposure to many non-target organisms.


New labeling precautions for pyrethroid products, with one exception, prohibit applications to blooming crops or weeds when bees are actively visiting the treatment area. The exception is when applications are made to prevent or control a threat to public and/or animal health determined by a state, tribal or local health or vector control agency on the basis of documented evidence of disease causing agents in vector mosquitoes, or the occurrence of mosquito borne disease in animal or human populations, or if specifically approved by the state or tribe during a natural recovery effort. Per a policy adopted by the State Reclamation & Mosquito Control Board on August 20, 2007, applications of pyrethroid products by ULV and course application have the following restrictions: When targeting species of concern and potential vectors of arboviruses, standard, locally established adult mosquito control efforts—including aerosol and foliar, may commence prior to sunset and continue after sunrise when conditions are appropriate to achieve efficacy and in accord with all other labeling directions and restrictions. The above exception applies when the following criteria are met:


  • When the risk category for the focal area is defined by the MDPH State Arbovirus Surveillance and Response Plan as level 3 (moderate probability of human outbreak) and the adult mosquito control intervention, either aerosol/space ULV or foliar/barrier application, is approved or requested in writing by the local Board of Health via letter, facsimile, e-mail, etc.; or
  • When the risk category for the focal area is defined by the MDPH State Arbovirus Surveillance and Response Plan as level 4 (high probability of human outbreak) or 5 (critical probability of human outbreak); or
  • When specifically requested or directed by the SRMCB when specifically requested or directed by the SRMCB when risk benefit analysis favors the application of pesticides.


The SRMCB can revise this policy as new information becomes available about labeling requirements in order to update and conform to those changes


Mosquito-borne illnesses:


Any and all applications for mosquito-bore disease such as West Nile Virus or Eastern Equine Encephalitis are done in conjunction with the local Board of Health and the Mass. Department of Public Health. Many factors too numerous to outline here are considered before an applications in done for the control of vector-borne diseases. Information is available from the MDPH website or from local Boards of Health, and is outlined in the “Massachusetts Vector Response Plan”.

The Children and Families Protection Act (CPA):    


All components of the CPA are complied with by CMMCP. No applications to school property will be done unless all components of the CPA are up to date and in place.  


Adulticide Exclusions:

Exclusions from our program are outlined in the Mass. Pesticide Regulations, 333CMR §13.04, paragraph 6, subsection 1(b). Residents who have excluded their properties through this legislation must send a registered letter to their City or Town Clerk before March 1 of each year. The letter must include the names of the property abutters, and the exclusion property is required to be marked every 50 feet with paper plates or similar means indicating “No Spray”. CMMCP personnel pick up these registered letters at the Town Clerk’s office in early April of each year. These names and addresses are added our spray exclusion list for that city or town. We maintain a spray exclusion list for every city or town in which we operate. Additional exclusions may be received by CMMCP throughout the year by phone, fax, e-mail, and letter, in person at our office or by contacting field personnel. All exclusion requests remain on our “No Spray List” until the residents request to be removed from the list or relinquish control of the listed property. 


If time allows, our applicators may notify residents on the “No Spray” list if an application is scheduled in their area that evening. This gives our applicators a chance to meet these residents, ask and answer questions, and survey their property. On rare occasions and only under specific instances, CMMCP field staff will contact residents listed on the exclusion list as “Contact when in area” to inform them that an application may be done in their area, and that their property will definitely be excluded from this application. The instances will include any medical and/or other extraordinary reasons. CMMCP office and field staff is not able to call or visit everyone on the exclusion list before each application.


Some additional factors that influence the decisions before an application:


·       Wind: No applications are made once wind gusts prevent applicator from controlling drift within a reasonable expectation. Each product may have specific instructions/restrictions on the label for wind speed.

·       Temperature: No applications are recommended once the temperature drops below 50oF. Each product may have specific instructions/ restrictions on the label for temperature.

·       Setback from water: No applications are recommended within 100 ft of a body of water. Each product may have specific instructions/ restrictions on the label for setback from bodies of water.


Identification and Location of Exclusion Properties:


The exclusion properties for each city and town are located on a clipboard that each applicator takes with them at the beginning of his/her shift. In addition to the names, addresses and other comments (asthmatic, pregnant, notify first, etc.) of the exclusion properties, the following information is included on the No Spray list:


  1. City or Town
  2. The phone number of the local Police Department
  3. CMMCP District number
  4. Latest revision date of this exclusion list
  5. Page numbers
  6. Map section number
  7. Date of registered exclusion (if any)


All cities and towns in our service area have been divided into map sections, and the corresponding section number is located on the No Spray list as well as all adulticide and larvicide service requests. This gives the applicator a quick reference as to whether there are exclusion properties in the area of a potential application.


Before any applications are performed the area is surveyed and compared to the addresses on the No Spray list to confirm and identify the locations of any exclusion properties. If properties are identified that do not exist on the exclusion list, this information is included on the applicators work report, and written on the exclusion list in his/her possession. The exclusion list on file at the CMMCP office is then revised and reprinted.


If any exclusion is called into the CMMCP office during the work day when the exclusion list has already been taken by an applicator, this applicator is called on direct link radio (Nextel) or cell phone to alert then to the new exclusion property location.


Properties that are marked according to 333CMR §13.04, paragraph 6, subsection 1(b) are identified, and exclusion properties not marked accordingly are located with a geographical reference (white house, house number, red fence, etc.) to be identified later as the application is being performed. In an instance where an applicator is assigned to an area not familiar to him/her, this applicator will coordinate with the Crew Leader assigned to that District to be informed about exclusion properties and all other situations that demand special attention. With any questions that arise, the Crew Leader, Director of Operations and Executive Director are all available using direct link radio or cell phones during each shift.


Applicators Licensing & Certification:


The Massachusetts Pesticide Bureau licenses and certifies all applicators employed by CMMCP. CMMCP applicators are dedicated year-round mosquito control professionals that continue to educate themselves on pesticide application, vector-borne diseases and advancements in mosquito control techniques through pesticide workshops and other certification courses. These workshops and certification classes are held throughout the year and are mandatory for all CMMCP employees holding a pesticide license. New applicators train with experienced CMMCP personnel for 1-2 weeks until they are confident they have gained the necessary knowledge and skills to perform adulticide applications competently. Retraining is offered to all employees prior to the start of the adulticide season. Retraining may include reviewing the current CMMCP SOP policy, reviews and updates to new pesticide regulations, and reviews of current products in use at CMMCP. These items and many others are also covered in the bimonthly Field Staff meeting held during the adulticide season.


Emergency Contacts:  


All applicators in the field are all equipped with direct link radio (Nextel®) and cell phones, and are given a list of the following contact names & numbers in case of an emergency situation or if any questions arise:


1.               Police Dept. phone number for each town they are working in.

2.               Poison Control Center phone number.

3.               Home and cell phone numbers of the Executive Director and the Director of Operations of CMMCP.

4.               Cell phone numbers of other CMMCP employees on shift.

5.               Phone numbers for emergency spill response for Mass. DEP, Clean Harbors and Triumvirate.


All trucks are equipped with a 3-ring binder with laminated pesticide MSDS sheets & labels, as well as other fact sheets. This information is also available at the CMMCP headquarters, and from the CMMCP website. All trucks are equipped with an emergency spill response kit if a pesticide spill were to occur. All emergency phone numbers are included on the face of these kits.


Equipment Used:


Applications are made by using Ultra Low Volume (ULV) sprayers. No thermal fog or mist blow equipment is used by CMMCP at this time. CMMCP employs two types of ULV sprayers, truck mounted and portable handheld sprayers. The sprayer flow rates are either fixed, such as in the portable sprayers, or variable, as in the case of the truck-mounted sprayers. The flow rates for these sprayers are calibrated at the start of each season according to the specified label rates and may be rechecked periodically if indications warrant. These sprayers are also checked at the beginning of each season for proper droplet size as outlined on the pesticide label. Droplet size may also be checked on a periodic basis if indications warrant.


ULV maintenance schedule:


Maintenance and calibration of the ULV sprayers is an important part of our adulticide program. Maintenance reduces repair costs and equipment downtime, and frequent calibration assessments will determine that we are following label guidelines and performing ULV spray operations at the optimum settings.


As a rule, the following minimum standards apply:


  • Calibration before the start of each season (*report)
  • Droplet size testing at the start of each season (*report)
  • Monthly ultrasonic cleaning of electric spray heads
  • Weekly flush of electric sprayers
  • Weekly wash of sprayer
  • General overall assessment of equipment
  • Check filters and replace as needed


The following recommendations are to be implemented and performed as time allows:

  • Monthly calibration (*report)
  • Monthly droplet size testing (*report)
  • Nightly flush of spray heads (end of shift)
  • Bimonthly ultrasonic cleaning of spray heads
  • Daily wash of sprayer


NOTE: all work done shall be recorded in the ULV Sprayer Maintenance Log.


*Individual reports as well as a note in the maintenance log. Laminate these reports and place in the pesticide label binders for each vehicle.


Equipment Security:


ULV equipment in use at CMMCP falls under strict security. All employees are required to wear photo identification at all times while on shift. The ULV spray equipment is locked up in several ways;


1.     The spray heads are locked at the end of each shift and can be removed and locked in a separate storage container.

2.     The flow control boxes are locked at all times.

3.     The pesticide container is locked at all times.

4.     Employees lock the trucks and any other equipment when they are away from the vehicle for any extended length of time.

5.     The electronic control boxes can be removed to disable the ULV rig entirely.


Pesticide Usage and Reporting:


All applicators carry in their vehicle a pesticide logbook.  This logbook is used to record all pesticides loaded onto their vehicles and all pesticides used after an application. The logbook contains the following information:


1.               Date and Time pesticide is loaded

2.               Type of pesticide loaded onto vehicle

3.               Amount of pesticide on truck prior to loading

4.               Amount of pesticide loaded

5.               Vehicles registration number

6.               Employee initials


Recording Pesticide Usage:


All truck-mounted ULV sprayers are outfitted with an hourmeter which records the total time the ULV sprayers were in use. The amount of adulticide for any given application is calculated by multiplying the time of use by the calibrated flow rate. Currently we utilize a dip stick method of calculating the pesticide output. At the end of every shift a report is filled out by every applicator for each town they worked in. These reports include the following information:


1.               Date

2.               City or Town

3.               Applicators name

4.               The applicator’s Pesticide License/Certification number

5.               Vehicle registration number

6.               Product name

7.               EPA Registration number(s)

8.               Total amount applied

9.               Location(s) of applications


There is also room for the applicator to make any additional comments he/she may find appropriate or necessary.   

Distribution of Pesticide Usage Reports:


Copies of the reports named above, as well as all other work reports, are photocopied and delivered to each Board of Health throughout the season. The original report is kept on file at the CMMCP office. CMMCP also files a Pesticide Usage report with the Massachusetts Pesticide Bureau every year as mandated by law. This report contains the names and total amounts of all pesticides used by CMMCP during the year.


CMMCP Annual Report:


Every year CMMCP complies an individual annual report of all work performed during the calendar year for every member city & town. Copies are made and delivered to many departments, including but not limited to: Board of Health, Board of Selectmen, City/Town Clerk, Conservation Commission, etc. Additional copies can be prepared if requested. Complete reports with information from all cities and towns are made and given to the CMMCP Board of Commission, the CMMCP Executive Director, CMMCP Director of Operations, and to the State Reclamation and Mosquito Control Board. The report includes a description of our services, entomology summary, dates, locations and work performed during the year, a year-end summary, and other pertinent information. Copies of all annual reports for all years of service dating back to 1974 are on file at the CMMCP office.


Safety Equipment:


All applicators are equipped with respirators, latex/nitrile gloves, long sleeve shirts and long pants to minimize their exposure to any products in use at CMMCP. Any items in need of repair or replacement can be brought to the attention of any member of the CMMCP Safety Committee, the Operations Foreman, the Director of Operations or the Executive Director.


Misapplications & Employee Reprimand(s)


Every effort is made by all employees of CMMCP at all times to assure that we apply products competently. We recognize that on occasions errors can occur, and disciplinary actions may be necessary. In this instance the following rules may apply:


1.     On the first application to an exclusion property, the applicator is spoken to; the No Spray list and SOP policy is reviewed by the applicator and a senior staff member.

2.     On the second misapplication, in addition to #1 the employee may receive a written reprimand to be placed in the employee’s personnel file.

3.     On the third misapplication, in addition to #1 & #2, the employee may receive an unpaid leave of absence, the length of time to be determined by the Executive Director.

4.     On the fourth misapplication the employee may be terminated at the discretion of the Executive Director.


Many factors are involved in determining disciplinary action, the timeframe involved, the extent of the misapplications and other extenuating circumstances. The ultimate decision on any disciplinary action falls under the discretion of the Executive Director.




CMMCP continues to strive towards its goal to reduce mosquito exposure to the public, and the potential for disease transmission by mosquitoes, by utilizing proven, sound mosquito control techniques. Our staff receives constant training, our fleet is continuously updated with the state of the art equipment, and we review our practices and procedures each year to adapt to the new strategies that are introduced in our field.  This document is meant as a guide to adulticiding, and may not cover every situation we may encounter. Training, experience and common sense dictate our response in any given situation. Advances in mosquito control techniques, the introduction of new products and equipment, and changes in laws and regulations will necessitate the revision of this document as necessary.