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Letter to the Editor: Mosquito Spraying Kills Beneficial Insects

Mosquito Spraying Kills Beneficial Insects

The appearance of mosquito-spraying company signs compels me to remind everyone that all insecticides targeting adult and larval mosquitoes will harm pollinators and other beneficial insects that come in contact with the chemical. Even organic pesticides like neem oil kill indiscriminately. I’m especially concerned about insecticide applications adjacent to natural areas, including those that harbor the federally endangered Hine’s emerald dragonfly. Monarchs and many other insects are in steep decline, with pesticides being one of the leading threats.

Most landbirds feed their young insects. We’ve lost nearly three billion birds since 1970. Fewer insects mean fewer birds fledge.

We’re surrounded by water, woodlands, and wetlands. These natural areas are part of what makes Door County so attractive to us, as well as to mosquitoes. Mosquitoes breed quickly and will continue to repopulate after spraying, necessitating repeated treatments. At the same time, the residual effects of insecticides will continue to harm pollinators and other insects visiting and feeding on treated plants.

Safer solutions are using personal repellents like DEET, picaridin and some essential oils, as well as wearing protective clothes. Of course, it’s always a safe thing to protect wetland health. Healthy wetlands harbor a diversity of insects (including dragonflies), fish, amphibians and birds that prey on mosquitoes.

Dan Scheiman

Sister Bay, Wisconsin