Summer 2015 was another mosquito challenged summer. Populations appeared a bit later than usual, peaking in July/August. They tenaciously hung around until about mid-October, and we are still getting calls about stragglers…
This summer was our third season of organic mosquito control – and all that we have learned and implemented has yielded much improved abatement results. Every summer, more neighbors join the program and experience relief and protection. Our little vehicles have been zipping back and forth between Brooklyn Heights and Fort Greene, defending brownstones and backyards.
We wanted to share some of what has been contributing to the program’s success:
- Mixing different organic repellents to target different species (i.e. catnip for Asian Tiger and cedar oil for local species)
- Combining application techniques for better coverage (fogging and spraying)
- Carefully targeting treatment areas (stoops are huge breeding areas, we increased focus and frequency of applications)
The Cobble Hill Association reported that due to eleven West Nile cases, in September the city decided to spray a few neighborhoods: Boerum Hill, Cobble Hill, Downtown Brooklyn.
The City used Anvil 10+10 (Sumithrin) pesticide, and urged residents to stay indoors, close vents on AC units and move children’s toys inside while the pesticide was sprayed. A few neighbors have asked about safety and exposure to Sumithrin. Here is an excerpt from the NYC.gov site:
“Is the spraying of Anvil harmful to my health or my family’s health?
Short-term exposures to very high levels of pyrethroid pesticides similar to Sumithrin can affect the nervous system, causing such effects as loss of coordination, tremors or tingling and numbness in areas of skin contact. Short-term exposure to high levels of petroleum solvents can cause irritation of the eye, skin, nose, throat or lung. Vomiting or central nervous system depression may occur if very high levels of petroleum solvents are ingested. There are no studies examining whether the use of Anvil to control mosquitoes has caused any long-term health effects in humans.
Anvil is applied at very low concentrations to control mosquitoes. It is unlikely that adverse health effects will occur as a result of this use for most people, but some individuals may experience health effects. For these reasons, individuals should consider taking steps to minimize their exposure to Anvil if it is applied to control mosquitoes.
We recognize the need for organized control, and urge the City to explore non-toxic alternatives where possible. They have done a fine job of mandating integrated pest control in schools. In the interim, we advise residents to take the protective precautions seriously should the City mosquito spraying become more commonplace.