By Roger Rosentreter
Nobody likes mosquitoes but can the cure be worse than the bite?
Many parts of the country are back to spraying for mosquitoes after dropping this practice many years ago due to the harmful effects from insecticides. West Nile virus, or other more tropical diseases are moving north due to climate changes. So, what to do?
Let’s look at a few of the choices. Zap, trap, or gas the mosquitoes. The fewer chemicals the better?
In 1996, two entomologists by the names of Tim Frick and Douglas Tallamy collected and identified the insects killed by six bug zappers at various suburban sites in Delaware. From the 14,000 insects that were electrocuted only 31 individuals or 0.22% were mosquitoes or biting gnats. The bulk 6,670 or 48 % of the insects electrocuted were midges and harmless aquatic insects. This is too bad since these insects are vital to the aquatic food chain that fish depend on. Another group caught in the zappers were predators and parasites (1,868 or 13.5%). These are the very insects that help control pest populations naturally. So how good are bug zappers in the garden or in the home of an avid fisher person? They’re terrible! They are nonselective and kill many harmless insects and beneficial insects.
How about mosquito misters? This product periodically dispenses an organic or synthetic pesticide. But this to is a nonselective and in discriminant application and destroys beneficial insects.
Trap and Gas
Mosquito trapping with CO2? This gas attracts mosquitoes and works well in enclosures such as a large room. It is not that effective in an outdoor setting. A better approach is to eliminate all standing water and use safe larvicides with Bt dunks and repellents in the water. Some folks with small ponds in their back yards get mosquito fish for the pond and the problem is solved. Also putting a water pump in and activating or moving the water as in a fountain will also eliminate mosquitoes.
So, cover up or spray yourself and not the insects for a better environment and for better fishing.