2014-07-31 / Nature

Mosquito Police Keep Busy

By Jack Kelly


Louis Alves sprays the walls of a drain with insecticide. (Photo by Jack Kelly) Louis Alves sprays the walls of a drain with insecticide. (Photo by Jack Kelly) Native Newporter Louis Alves is one of the city’s unsung heroes. Alves, who works for United Water at Newport’s sewage treatment plant, is a one-man mosquito eradication specialist.

Alves patrols the city’s storm drain catch basins checking for standing water as part of United Water’s mosquito abatement program. “I’ve been doing this since the end of June. I apply bulk insecticide tablets to the standing water, which prevent mosquito larvae from developing, and I spray a special insecticide on the walls of the drain to kill the adults.” An examination of the drain that Alves was preparing to dose revealed scores of larvae swimming about. “This is fairly normal for the system between rainstorms,” he related.

Checking every catch basin in the stormwater drainage system is hard work, and Alves takes his responsibilities very seriously. “These insects can carry deadly diseases like West Nile virus, Eastern equine encephalitis and other mosquito-related illnesses. In the past, these diseases have killed birds and horses in our area. I worry about that, as well as the fact that humans can contract the same diseases and become very ill or even die. I’m glad my company is on top of this important work.”



Bulk insecticide gets dropped into a strorm drain’s standing water. Bulk insecticide gets dropped into a strorm drain’s standing water.

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