The EEE and West Nile viruses have been found in mosquitoes in nearby towns (Westborough and Shrewsbury, respectively). While no infected mosquitoes have been identified in Southborough, some residents wonder if it’s only a matter of time. My Southborough reader Jon sent in this tale:
I live over on Boston road and last week a large crow was standing motionless for quite some time in our yard. Hours later it was dead, in that same spot. Because of recent reports of EEE and west nile in other nearby towns We called animal control. They called back while we were out leaving a message saying to throw it away because they don’t collect dead birds. In the message they said it is possible that the bird might have had EEE and to take precautions ie. use bug spray etc.
Southborough resident Tim Deschamps, executive director of the Central Mass. Mosquito Control Project, tells me that while birds harbor both West Nile and EEE, it doesn’t affect them as much as it used to because they have built up immunity. Deschamps said the state stopped testing crows for EEE and West Nile a few years ago as a result.
So, while we’re not likely to know whether that crow on Boston Road died from EEE or West Nile, Deschamps still encourages residents to use mosquito repellents whenever they’re outdoors (be sure to follow the directions on the label). He also recommends emptying containers of standing water and rinsing birdbaths weekly.
The CMMCP doesn’t automatically spray insecticide around town, unless infected mosquitoes are found, but you can always make a request for them to spray your neighborhood. The spraying schedule is posted each day by 3:00 pm on the CMMCP website. Spraying in Southborough typically takes place on Wednesdays and Thursdays.
Deschamps notes that while spraying can reduce the risk of EEE and West Nile, it doesn’t eliminate it completely. “Only a few hard frosts will completely take care of the mosquitoes,” he said.