Mosquito spraying is an additional measure that is taken to control these pests. Suffolk County Vector Control sprays the communities of Fire Island, including the Village of Ocean Beach, as needed during the summer months. For more information on the process, the schedule, and to access the opt-out form, please go to this link: Suffolk County Vector/Mosquito Control
Beneficial Insects: Remember, not all insects are a nuisance. Many insects are actually helpful to us by preying on mosquitoes or mosquito larvae, as well as a variety of garden pests. Some also play an important role in pollinating plants. The species that you are likely to see on Fire Island (and their beneficial role) include:
Ladybugs eat aphids, mites, scales, mealybugs, and many other soft-bodied insects. A ladybug can eat up to 5000 aphids in its lifetime.
Dragonflies in the nymph stage eat mosquito larvae; in the adult stage they eat adult mosquitoes that they catch mid-air. They are expert flyers, able to dart, dive, hover, and fly backwards. Consequently, they eat a variety of other flying insects including biting flies, midges, and gnats.
Praying Mantises are voracious eaters and prey on mosquitoes, aphids, caterpillars, crickets, spiders, and anything else they can grab (including hummingbirds!). They can turn their heads 180 degrees and have excellent vision. They stalk their prey by remaining still and grabbing insects that land within reach. Spines lining their legs help them catch and hold their prey.
Bees play an important environmental role in pollinating a variety of plants. Although not relevant in Fire Island, bees play an enormous role in commercial farming, pollinating up to a quarter of the human food supply. Note that bees are not aggressive. They will only bite if they feel threatened. Don’t swat at them; just let them bee. The big, black carpenter bees that you see in the spring in Fire Island look scary, but are incapable of stinging. They may fly up to you and stare at your face; if they do, you can stare back, but don’t fret. They are merely trying to protect their nest.
Butterflies help pollinate flowers and eat plenty of weedy plants. (Full disclosure: many species of butterfly caterpillars eat garden plants and herbs.)
So when you see these critters in your garden, or flying about, we hope you recognize the value that they have in naturally controlling insects that we find annoying. Let them continue doing what they do best: eliminating a variety of pests.
VOBEC is a mayor-appointed commission whose purpose is to preserve and improve the quality of the natural and man-made environment within the Village in the face of population growth, urbanization, and technological change and their subsequent demands on natural resources.
These areas of focus reflect this mission of maintaining and improving the quality of our life experience and our efforts to foster unified action on environmental problems.