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Mosquito spraying from city truck -- any ways to block it from my property?

 
Posts: 50
Location: Berkshire County, Ma. 6b/4a. Approx. 50" rain
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Hi,

I live in a small city that sprays to control the population of mosquitoes that might potentially carry West Nile Virus.... .01-.49 in 100,000. That is the average annual incidence in my county as recorded by the CDC from data accumulated from 1999-2016. I'm exasperated with my local board of health that came to a weak compromise--that has been ignored by the director of the mosquito control program--even after the mountains of evidence showing both the real and dangerous consequences of the main adulticide used, and the utter lack of need to spray in the first place.


I'm not above civil disobedience, I know where this truck mounted sprayer is located.

But first, I thought I'd ask---does anyone have any good ideas on how I might block this poison spray from inundating my property?
 
gardener
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When I was a kid growing up in Kansas, about 3 times during the summer, one of the men would drive around town towing the "fogger" on a little trailer behind his pickup truck.  It would chug chug chug out a white smoke that was pure DDT.  And we'd ride our bikes behind him, criss-crossing back and forth through the cloud of pesticide.  

Oh the simple joys of childhood, stolen from us by a meddling government.

They'd fog the entire town that way.  Took care of the mosquito problems --- and just about anything else that flew.  Silent spring.

My hunch is that the best way to fight back against unnecessary spraying is to mount a community protest against it.  Pack city hall meetings and make your voice heard.  I wouldn't resort to vandalism -- that'll just harden their resolve.
 
Kamaar Taliaferro
Posts: 50
Location: Berkshire County, Ma. 6b/4a. Approx. 50" rain
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Getting 2 out of the 5 health board members to vote against spraying at any risk threshold has been the culmination of about a decade of public outreach and education. Yet 3 members were still swayed by the blatant lying of the mosquito control programs director (who also happens to be a salesman for the company that sells the poison to our city).

I haven't spearheaded any of the outreach, I've just been present. Many of my neighbors appreciate the spraying, despite all the evidence against it. And others just don't care.

Seems like there are 2 actions to take, civil disobedience and/or litigation. While waiting for either to be effective any ideas for physical barriers, ways to render the poison inert, etc?


 
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Location: In the woods, West Coast USA
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Better yet, Kamaar, get a $3 million grant or GoFundMe to study the efficacy of the spraying that's been done.  You get $2.5 mil for your time, effort and expertise, and use a half a mil to hire a few professional biologists to hang your own sticky traps right after the spraying, write up a report.  How many times have we seen people who get money for this kind of thing and think, jeez, why didn't I think of that?  Then go to City Council with your results, and organize protests.

But on the other side, it is not worth it to risk your freedom and honor to go do something to the spray truck.  They will just get another one.  A city organization is HUGE and every law enforcement officer is connected to it, and State law enforcement is connected to the City, and will protect it with their lives, and be perfectly willing to see you as a violent threat.  Everything these days is way too ramped up.

 
pollinator
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Public health issues sure are tricky - always straddling the line between personal civil rights and dictating what's best for the greater good.   If you can at least get the city to announce when they'll be spraying each region,  then the best thing to do is just stay inside with your pets for a few hours.  Keeping in mind that one technique used involves assessing the wind at the time and spraying one area to result in a "drift" to the target area.    If you're concerned about ingesting the spray,   I would consider draping row covers over your annual vegetable gardens.   Most cities argue that it's not toxic but I don't know if every city uses the same stuff - thankfully I haven't needed to research that.
 
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Location: san diego ca
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i agree with cristo  its easy for them to deal with you wrecking there truck and at a big risk for you  where as law suit or studies could get the whole state to ban it   but if you do good luck
 
pollinator
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Kamaar Taliaferro wrote:Hi,

But first, I thought I'd ask---does anyone have any good ideas on how I might block this poison spray from inundating my property?



Those sprays will find its way into your property and will do damage eventually. You can only mitigate the impact.
First thing is that since spraying has always been there, nukes were already dropped and damage is done. You probably don't have a healthy population of critters and such (birds, bats, fish, frogs..) that prey on mosquitoes. Initially things might not seem as they are working, while actually they are. Situation might seem catastrophic for a year or two. It might take up to 5-7 years to reach the balance. All you will need is some time for numbers to catch up. Similar to snails, you will need to "hand-feed" your property initially, push the balance in favor of predators. For snails, no -cides followed by hand picking, creating environment for predators, introducing predators if they are not present, providing easy meal for predators for their offspring to have a better chance and observing observing observing... Similar try to that stop -cides entering your property, try to kill all mosquito breeding areas (no unattended plastic covers, bags, garbage or such. No standing water- puddles and such either by drying them out or introducing beneficial nematodes. Try to create habitat for bats and insect hunting birds by providing bat-houses and similar. Introduce fish and frogs that eat on mosquito larvae. Years later you will take a cub of coffee and enjoy barn swallows and bats hunting while sun is setting, like I do.
How to stop -cide entering your property? Those sprays are droplets in the air. You will need to slow down the air movement and create a large catch surface (leaves). Similar to a wind-break- actually exactly a wind break, you will need to create a buffer zone around your property, at least 4-5 lanes of trees thick. It is not super effective though, you will observe sudden but limited decline in numbers of critters 1-3 weeks after the application of -cides. It will bounce back eventually.
Hope it helps
 
Posts: 25
Location: South Shore, Massachusetts, USA (Zone 6b)
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I have similar concerns where I live. They do aerial applications with helicopters. Their website publishes information that makes me raise my eyebrows: http://www.norfolkcountymosquito.org/
 
pollinator
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Another terrible aspect of this disregard for human health is that the spray contains gluten, so that it sticks to vegetation. Gluten is insoluble by the acidity of rain. So anyone who suffers from celiac will be severely affected.
 
Kamaar Taliaferro
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Location: Berkshire County, Ma. 6b/4a. Approx. 50" rain
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Thanks for all the support yall.

This issue kind of died for me as another sprang. Kinda tangential--my city demanded that I cut down sunflowers i planted alongside the road due to a complaint, and withheld my right to appeal said complaint. The sunflowers were the lowest hanging fruit (compared to enforcing speed limits and parking requirements) in this case.

I dont see myself as in the position where using energy to change the paradigm is worthwhile. This isnt my "forever property".

I'll continue to be present at city meetings on the issue.

And Christopher, if you want to resist holler and I'll send you research and reports done by a local journalist against mosquito spraying. He was pretty comprehensive. Your place may use different chemicals, but it may be a decent start?
 
pollinator
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The gluten doesn't worry me, though I acknowledge it could be inconvenient for gluten allergy sufferers. But it wouldn't be at the top of my list of concerns. Plus, biodegradable.

No, I am concerned with the toxic components, and the fact that, whatever the safe level for humans, if it kills mosquitoes, it will kill anything smaller, and probably sicken things larger, too.

As to safeguarding your property, Kamaar, You could put 2" x 2" "posts" along the windward perimeter, with some wrap, and drape muslin cloth or row cover material, for what that's worth. I would be careful to take it down before rain events, but it might trap airborne particulates for you.

I strongly suggest seeing if you can take advantage of government grants, or even a gofundme, as mentioned, to pay for a study, and compensate you for your time. Then, with a cool, new $2.5 million in your pocket, you could go see what property isn't in someone's spray path.

Though messing with the spray truck sounds so tempting, and would feel soooo good...

-CK
 
Christopher Nickelson-Mann
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Location: South Shore, Massachusetts, USA (Zone 6b)
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Kamaar Taliaferro wrote:

And Christopher, if you want to resist holler and I'll send you research and reports done by a local journalist against mosquito spraying. He was pretty comprehensive. Your place may use different chemicals, but it may be a decent start?



Yes, I'd love to see the research! Send me a mooseage if you want. Thanks!
 
pollinator
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That's unfair to deny a right of appeal.  What is the law they're enforcing?

That sounds constructive and generous to keep showing up at the town meetings.  

Maybe there is also a way of catching flies with honey here?  Flowers are beautiful, people like beautiful things, usually.  

Are they talking about last year's dead flowers?
I hear the praying mantises are done hatching by now in dead stalks, so hopefully it's less damaging.
Or are they saying you can't grow tall things this year?

[quote=Kamaar Taliaferro]Thanks for all the support yall.

This issue kind of died for me as another sprang. Kinda tangential--my city demanded that I cut down sunflowers i planted alongside the road due to a complaint, and withheld my right to appeal said complaint. The sunflowers were the lowest hanging fruit (compared to enforcing speed limits and parking requirements) in this case.

I dont see myself as in the position where using energy to change the paradigm is worthwhile. This isnt my "forever property".

I'll continue to be present at city meetings on the issue.

And Christopher, if you want to resist holler and I'll send you research and reports done by a local journalist against mosquito spraying. He was pretty comprehensive. Your place may use different chemicals, but it may be a decent start?[/quote]
 
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Kamaar Taliaferro wrote:Hi,

I live in a small city that sprays to control the population of mosquitoes that might potentially carry West Nile Virus.... .01-.49 in 100,000. That is the average annual incidence in my county as recorded by the CDC from data accumulated from 1999-2016. I'm exasperated with my local board of health that came to a weak compromise--that has been ignored by the director of the mosquito control program--even after the mountains of evidence showing both the real and dangerous consequences of the main adulticide used, and the utter lack of need to spray in the first place.


I'm not above civil disobedience, I know where this truck mounted sprayer is located.

But first, I thought I'd ask---does anyone have any good ideas on how I might block this poison spray from inundating my property?



WTF?!

I can't believe they still do that type of ye olde school crap over there! I recall seeing on TV 1950/60's B & W footage of tankers driving through suburbia USA gleefully fogging the 'Burbs with DDT, while kids played on the street and were showered in the stuff. Would never have believed they'd still be doing that antiquated approach these days - if the 'authorities' tried that here, the local Member of Parliament (MP) would have to surgically remove the tanker from his rear orifice!

Although WNV can be dangerous, it's usually not a major issue. We have an endemic version of it and it's rarely a significant problem.


I suggest the spray is meant to be all-pervading, so it may be more appropriate to put together a community group opposing the indiscriminate spraying of everything - did they ever consider a targeted approach e.g. pamphlets requesting residents to drain accumulated water, biological control, etc?
 
Kamaar Taliaferro
Posts: 50
Location: Berkshire County, Ma. 6b/4a. Approx. 50" rain
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As for the inner workings of our mosquito spray program. I'm gonna start of by saying WNV simply has never been a threat here (last 15 years 1 confirmed case the woman recovered without complication). And yes, a dedicated group of citizens has since the beginning of the spraying program attempted to educate us on proper mosquito hygiene.

How it works in practice. Traps are set to test for mosquito borne diseases. The traps are laid mostly in prime mosquito breeding habitats in our area, which also happen to be sparsely populated. Mosquito counting-i.e. stick out your arm for 15 minutes--is also done to estimate the adult breeding population of known mosquitoes that transmit disease.

The traps and counts are collected by the director of the Mosquito Control program--who also happens to be a salesman for the company that sells the mosquito spray to our city. As things tend to happens the budget for the control program has mysteriously increased the past few years, despite a reduced amount of spraying.

The CDC sets certain thresholds for mosquito borne illness risk and has recommendations on when to spray. The director of our spraying program has recommended spraying at a lower threshold. Mostly the sprayings are done in neighborhoods near where the traps were set. And through perseverance the city was pressured into informing us of planned spraying.

Unfortunately those of us who do oppose the sprayings are still too few, even after a decade of informational campaigning and protesting. Too many folks just cant stand the threat of being bitten by a mosquito to recognize the many and myriad adverse consequences. This in a city with a terrible history of wanton industrial pollution, Superfund site level. So bad former factory grounds are basically quarantined, 40 years later. And it has me at a loss.
 
pollinator
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What chemicals are they using?
 
gardener
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We used to ride our bikes behind the fogger trucks back in the 60's. Up & down all the neighborhood streets. DDT clouds were fun stuff for kids.  

Now we have bat houses. Much better plan.  
 
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