As local pesticide spray programs targeting adult mosquitoes with West Nile virus continue throughout the U.S., it must be recognized that these spray programs are of very limited efficacy. That is, spraying is NOT an effective or efficient way to prevent death or illness associated with insect-borne West Nile virus.
A large part of this has to do with understanding the life cycle of mosquitoes and their biology. Another large part of this has to do with the inability, especially in an urban environment, to hit target insects with typical ground spraying from trucks or by aerial application.
While recognizing the public health threat of West Nile virus (WNv) and other mosquito-borne diseases, and given the limited efficacy of adulticidal sprays, or pesticides meant to target adult mosquitoes, it becomes even more important to recognize the public health hazards associated with widespread pesticide exposure. The pesticides most commonly used across the country are neurotoxic and have been linked to cancer and other illnesses. People with compromised immune systems, chemically sensitive people, pregnant women, and children with respiratory problems, such as asthma, are particularly vulnerable to these pesticides and will suffer disproportionately from exposure.
Mosquito Management: The Fundamentals
Management Strategies and Alternatives
Efficacy of Adulticides
Chemical Toxicity and Health Effects for Commonly used Mosquito Pesticides
If you are concerned about the spraying of pesticides in your community or local environment, want a copy of Beyond Pesticides' organizing packet, or want to get involved in any way, please act now and contact Beyond Pesticides (202) 543-5450.