PITTSFIELD, M.A. (NEWS10) — Despite mosquitoes testing positive for West Nile Virus in Pittsfield, a split city council vote opted not to resume spraying pesticides. Now local officials are looking for alternative methods to combat the insects.

West Nile Virus detected in Pittsfield

For years Pittsfield sprayed for mosquitoes anually, but that was discontinued in 2021.

Health Department Director Andy Cambi pointed to similar public health concerns as to why Tuesday’s nights vote may have failed.

“I’ve heard environmental concerns for pollinators, also for their families, so I completely understand so a lot of that is having that open communication with our residents so they can voice their concerns, because there might be some facts that are not accurate, and we can just dive into those conversations” Cambi said.

With spraying no longer on the table Cambi says Pittsfield is taking the approach of educating the public on what they can do to avoid mosquitoes.

“Our response was to do public outreach, to notify the public of the vicinity of that mosquito and let them know what the what precaution measures they can take to avoid bites” Cambi told us.

Health experts advise wearing long plants, long sleeved shirts and socks to avoid getting bitten.

They also caution residence to remove standing water from areas around the property to prevent attracting the mosquitoes.

West Nile Virus generally causes mild illness, with symptoms including fever, vomiting and diarrhea. In rare cases it can lead to serious illnesses such as encephalitis, meningitis or death. 

City council members will go to the board of health to find alternative methods for dealing with the pests for next summer.