Thursday, August 4, 2011

Attention Prospect Park Visitors!

I am now hearing that Prospect Park will be sprayed tonight, after 12:30am (and our neighborhoods after 8pm tonight). If you are sensitive to this sort of thing (or foraging tomorrow), you would want to know this. Despite contacting my councilman, and having received a response, I have no new information from the city on the spraying that would help me understand what the procedure is for application of pesticides (Anvil 10+10). They tell me they do not spray the house. But how could that be? What exactly are they targeting from their truck mounted sprayers? Seriously, it's not cool, New York City.

I have to now hit the internet to find information that the city should be providing. How hard is that NYC? Just a little info goes a long way. Why do you not want us to know more about what you are doing? Because we might disagree? Hmm.

"New labeling precautions for pyrethroid products, with one exception, prohibit applications to blooming crops or weeds when bees are actively visiting the treatment area. "
-suppose its bad for the garden then. You thought you were organic!

Also, pictures of a truck sprayer and hand-held sprayer from the same Mass website:

I imagine the setup is similar in NYC. Notice how they sprayer is mounted to spray up and out, in a "fogging" type of manner. The Massachusetts site says to shut your AC, while NYC tells us not to. Hello -mine is now off. The droplet size is quite small from something like this and is capable of entering your AC.

If you witness the spraying tonight in the any of these zipcodes please report what you see: 11355, 11358, 11364, 11365, 11366, 11423, 11427, 11215, 11218, 11219, 11225, 11226, 11232, 11238, 11691 or 11692.

Here is a link to testimony to a congressional hearing by a doctor on the effects of these types of pesticides. Note that the pyrethroid pesticide she discusses is similar to the pyrethroid they are spraying in our streets. Also note that the ULV designation doesn't mean less, it means lower volume of spray but higher concentration of poison.


If you are a bee keeper, read this:

Where the risk factors combine to pose a serious risk to bees, you will want to consider one of two options. Beekeepers with one or two colonies can confine their bees during and immediately after a spray. If you choose this method, you will have to confine your bees the night before the spray takes place, and leave them shut in for 24 hours. Before confining your bees, make sure they have sufficient space to prevent overheating - that may mean adding an extra super of empty combs. Remove the entrance reducer, if present, and screen off the entrance with 1/8" hardware cloth. Plug or tape all other holes in your equipment that the bees can use as entrances, and replace the inner and outer covers with a piece of 1/8" hardware cloth stapled over the top of the hive. Cover the hive with two layers of wet burlap, and keep the burlap wet while the bees are confined. Place a sheet of plastic loosely over the burlap during the spray to minimize direct contact with the pesticide, but remove it immediately after the spray. If your bees are in the sun, you must provide shade. A day of confinement is all that a colony can take without suffering damage, especially if it is hot. Beekeepers with more than a couple of colonies will want to move their bees out of the spray area. Be sure to contact the health department in the county where you plan to move your bees to be sure there is no spray program planned for that area.

If you leave your colonies unprotected in a spray zone, observe the entrances for several days after the spray takes place. If you note an unusual number of dead, crawling or dying bees in front of your hives, call your regional DEC office immediately and ask that a Pesticide Specialist sample your bees to determine if the kill is due to the pesticide that was sprayed in your area. Ask DEC for a laboratory assay to determine if the product used to control the mosquitoes is present in your bees. Also, report any confirmed pesticide damage to me, so that I can determine the statewide impact of the spray programs on honey bees.

I have contacted agencies in other states to learn about their experiences with these pesticides. The staff at the Florida Department of Agriculture Mosquito Control Program informed me that they have not had any bee-related problems with Anvil and Scourge when using nighttime, ground applications. Some minor damage to bees hanging outside their hives on hot nights has been noted, but that is all. In a similar vein, colleagues in Missouri have also informed me that they do not experience damage from pyrethroid sprays unless the spray contacts bees hanging out on hot nights. So, that is relatively good news.

You can contact the following New York State Department of Health website for more information on the West Nile Virus, control methods for mosquitoes, and the various pesticides being used as part of the control program: You can contact the following DEC website to locate phone numbers for your regional DEC office:

I am contacting the state's county health departments and asking that they restrict any spraying to nighttime applications of Anvil or Scourge. Also, I am asking that they consider focusing on control of larval mosquitoes rather than the adults because larvicides are less toxic to bees. Compounds such as methoprene and Bt are effective against the immature stage of the mosquito, non-toxic to people, and relatively non-toxic to bees. Local community-based programs that focus on the elimination of breeding areas, such as old tires and cans with water, can also have a significant impact on mosquito populations.

Please share this information with all members of your organization.


Nicholas W. Calderone
Assistant Professor of Apiculture
Department of Entomology
Cornell University
Comstock Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853



  1. I really don't know what to say. I am pretty nonplussed by this. Despite CCD we are affecting bees, and other beneficial insects.

  2. Pyrethroids can also be toxic to small dogs and cats.


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