Pesticides v Killer Mosquitoes

By John B. Swift posted 11-04-2019 08:50


I heard the plane pass low over the house in the early morning hours. I was up rocking our five-month-old back to sleep. I knew it was coming, so I had made sure all the windows were closed. It wasn’t even that loud, and I imagined the fine mist of insecticide settling on our grass, roof, driveway, trees, bushes, … everything. Allegedly Merus 3.0 kills mosquitoes and plenty of other insects on contact although I don’t recall having seen any lying on the ground the next morning. I had mixed feelings about the spraying from the start. Plenty of signs along the road implored the powers that be: Do Not Spray.

I’d always been squarely against spraying residential areas for mosquito control. That is, before Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) came to town and before having young children. With a 33 percent fatality rate, EEE is particularly terrifying—especially when you consider the amount of standing water and mosquitoes as potential vectors. It’s almost like a scene right out of the beginning of an apocalypse movie.

As much as I want to keep my family safe, something about planes flying over my house spraying chemicals raises the hairs on the back of my neck, even if those chemicals are safe and used in a very small application. There is an invasive element to the practice that makes me wish for more transparency to the decision-making process. And while I recognize exigent circumstances don’t always allow for a fully developed public discourse, I also don’t want to walk outside to find a mutated 40-pound frog that happened to eat all those dead mosquitoes.