Shinnecock is not immune to the yearly onslaught of mosquitos. However, there are some steps that we can take to reduce our exposure to itchy bites and possible illness. Many of the mosquitos that share this land with us originate in the salt marshes. We hope to see a continued decrease in the mosquito swarming since the small ponds on either side of the cemetery have been opened and allowed for the improved water flow and access of mosquito-eating killifish.
The Shinnecock Nation Environmental Department will explore alternatives for the remainder salt marshes, through wetland management planning. Previous discussion with Suffolk County Vector control, have suggested the marsh at the end of the dump site is buffered by the surrounding woodlands. It is unlikely that the mosquitos from the dump are traveling to the center of Shinnecock.
To reduce the breeding grounds inland, empty all sources of standing water. Mud puddles, flower pots, old tires, children’s toys, buckets, pet dishes, and unmaintained swimming pools are the perfect opportunity for mosquitos to populate. Other proactive steps include building bat houses. Bats are known to eat up to 1,000 mosquitoes per hour. As a natural predator of mosquitoes, it would be in our interest to protect their habitat as well. The “pup” season of bats is between June 1st and July 31st, during which time there will be possible instances of maternal roosting. The department urges tribal member to limit disturbances in the trees, such as cutting and removing. We too are part of the delicate yet magnificently designed ecosystem, and must do our best to fit into, not just change it to our needs. If you are interested in constructing bat houses, check below for more information and instructions!