Municipality Opts Not to Spray Pesticides to Control West Nile Virus
(Beyond Pesticides, October 1, 2003) Murfreesboro, TN in Rutherford County, has decided not spray adulticides, or pesticides meant to kill adult mosquitoes as party of the city's plan to combat West Nile virus. The city's website cites experts at the Rutherford County Agricultural Extension Service who say wholesale spraying of insecticides creates more problems than it solves.
"The agriculture extension agent told us already that spraying causes more problems that it solves," said Rick Templeton, Murfreesboro's director of streets. "By putting pollutants into the water and making if difficult for some people to breathe, they feel like you're putting contaminants in the air."
Along with a strong monitoring program to detect the virus in birds and mosquito pools, Murfreesboro is using larvicides and has asked its residents to empty standing water on their property. If residents notice standing water on public property, they are to contact the city for clean-up or treatment with larvicides.
Communities across the country are stopping their use of pesticides and adopting preventive strategies that manage mosquito breeding areas and educate people to use non-toxic insect repellents. The City of Lyndhurst, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland, passed a landmark ordinance on July 7, 2003 prohibiting the spraying of pesticides "in an effort to help control the spread of the West Nile virus." The City's action follows a community forum in which a panel of experts on mosquito management and health effects of pesticides discussed the hazards and the lack of efficacy associated with the spraying of adulticides, or pesticides used to spray adult mosquitoes. Other communities, such as Ft. Worth, Texas and Washington, DC are on record with no-spray policies.