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 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 they are there (unless you see their truck; in this case it was parked on the road). I asked her to let us know that they would be present by simply knocking on the door, that the woods are dangerous (I hope that didn't sound like a threat :-\) and the mosquito surveyors need to be careful of falling 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 because things need to eat and they eat mosquitoes, and even more so -the spray kills indiscriminately. When I ask why they are spraying, this is mosquito habitat (there it is) after all, 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 is 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

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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.



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