Saturday, June 27, 2015

Brave New Habitat

I could hardly believe the words coming out of my mouth -mosquito h a b i t a t. Yet that's what I said to the young lady in hot pink sweat jacket (ahem, hoodie) that loped out of the north (formerly little) wetland after I announced myself with a stern good morning.

The Metropolitan Mosquito Control District makes regular, unannounced visits to survey the mosquito load of our wetlands. I have yet to be unsurprised by their presence or put in other words: they do not knock, call, or in any way let you know when they are there (unless you see their truck; in this case it was parked on the road). I asked her to let us know when they would be present with a simple knock on the door, that they need to be careful of falling limbs or trees, and by all means -please use the trails instead of trouncing the understory. 

This was the second time this spring that I've asked them not to spray. Things need to eat I say, and they eat mosquitoes, and even more so -the spray kills indiscriminately. When I ask why they are spraying, this is mosquito habitat after all (there it is), they toss up the usual suspect -West Nile Virus. To which I've got a handful of retorts, and they then see that I am less than hospitable to this "public service." 

What we have here is a major home to countless frogs and toads, dragonflies that we love, bats, birds, and so much more. Mosquitoes bother the humans, don't get me wrong -I am thoroughly annoyed by them, but there are maybe 20 humans around these wetlands. West Nile Virus is not deeply concerning to me (maybe you, I can't say) but it is to me a "worrying tactic" used to nudge people into being agreeable to spraying. The truth is, or rather my truth is, that I believe they are spraying because mosquitoes are a nuisance and people just wish they were gone. 

Great. Now I am a proponent of mosquito habitat. I probably just broke the Fox News whacko meter. 

The helicopters fly just over the tree line in order to dump BTI, Bacillus thuringiensis subspecies israelensis, into the wetlands. I accept this practice as a compromise measure between myself and the mosquito-agitated public, although it seems an exorbitant use of funds for such spotty coverage. I can't say I've noticed a difference between post-BTI spread periods and untreated periods (but then, I'm biased -science please!).

The spraying of adult pesticides is done via backpack by day and likely by truck fogger at night (you may have seen this in NYC). I've continually asked surveyors to report back to their managers that we do not accept spraying on this land, even if our neighbors do. Apparently we need to get onto some sort of "do not spray" list. I have yet to find out how to do that, but I will, eventually.

O wonder!
How many godly creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world,
That has such people in't.

 —William Shakespeare, The Tempest


I've begun posting on Facebook, at MOUND, and if you click the link at the upper left it will take you to my new page. Consider following me there, too, because I have begun using it for all the short form pictures and posts that never make it into this journal.


  1. The same folks that rail (is it "rale"?) at global warming and want us to decrease our carbon footprints are out there spraying mosquitoes. No one likes them, but they are part of the ecology. Here, i try to keep the standing water gone, but they're neighbors - like it or not. Hope you can get on the list. Apparently you are not totally alone.

  2. Webb's right, you are not alone (and I'm not referring to the presence of the sprayers on and over your property). We are adamant about not using pesticides, however they are delivered, in our neighborhood (which is "normally" plenty wet). There are far better ways to discourage the mosquitoes from feasting on us. Best wishes getting on that do-not-spray list, Leslie in Oregon