Please don’t spray for mosquitoes.
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Please don’t spray for mosquitoes.

Please don’t spray for mosquitoes.

All living things play a vital role in the ecosystem. Mosquitoes are a food source for fish, predatory insects, bats, birds, dragonflies, spiders, and other mosquitoes. They also filter feed, turning over organic matter and helping recycle nutrients back into the ecosystem. Mosquitoes are also pollinators, helping plants reproduce.

Here are some other reasons why you might not want to spray for mosquitoes:

  1. Effects of chemicals: Some people and pets may experience eye, skin, nose, or throat irritation, or breathing problems even cancer after being exposed to chemicals.
  2. Pesticide residues: Pesticides may be left on outdoor surfaces like boardwalks and furniture after spraying.
  3. Small swimming insects: Oil surfactants used to reduce water surface tension can cause tiny insects to suffocate and disrupt the entire food chain.
  4.  Whether natural or synthetic, broad-spectrum insecticides are highly toxic to a wide variety of insects, not just mosquitoes.

A few years ago, I went on a fishing trip to a wilderness area in central Ontario, Canada. It was so remote that we heard wolves howling at night and saw bears and the northern lights. I took mosquito repellent but to my surprise, I did not need it. The lodge owner said the area had never been sprayed and he had cataloged over 40 different species of dragonflies. Some of the dragonflies were a beautiful iridescent blue, red and green.  It was the dragon flies that kept the mosquitoes under control.

Florida has over 100 species of dragonflies, and some say there are 169 species recorded in the state.  Florida is home to a total of 187 butterfly species, the most of any state east of the Mississippi River. However, the Vineyards Community Park in Collier County has a butterfly garden with no butterflies.

While spraying might be somewhat successful against floodwater mosquitoes, the Aedes mosquito, which can spread yellow fever, dengue fever, and chikungunya, breeds in containers not in easy-to-reach places.

  1. The Aedes mosquito lays its eggs in containers, pots, cans, bottles, closets, inside garbage, and indoors.
  2. It lays its eggs above the waterline.  
  3. When the water level rises, the eggs drop, hatch, and mature.  
    • Those conditions are less than ideal for mass spraying campaigns.
  4. Mosquito spraying is timed when mosquitos are present.  In other words, after you have been bitten
  5. Larvicides disrupt the food chain depriving fish of their natural food by killing beneficial larvae that feed on mosquito larva.
  6. Dragon flies (on the other hand) are always on the lookout for their primary food.
  7. We need dragonflies to protect us from all species of mosquitoes.

Mosquitoes can become resistant to insecticides. See reference [1] below.

  1. Pyrethroid insecticides continue to be the primary means for control of adult Aedes.
  2. Resistance to pyrethroids has been found throughout the world, but levels vary.
  3. Resistance is primarily due to gene mutations.
  4. Multiple mutations can result in highly resistant mosquito populations.
  5. Mosquitoes can’t develop resistance to dragonflies.
  6. People do not develop resistance to pesticides.

Since 2003 to 2024, I have traveled eleven times for over 32 weeks all over the Brazilian Amazon rainforest in five different Brazilian states and have only seen two mosquitoes during all of my travels. When you have a balanced ecosystem, pest problems will be easily managed. I spent two weeks living with local residents in an Amazonian village called San Antonio de Matupi located deep in Amazonia. I questioned several people who said there was no malaria in the area. Malaria does exist in Brazil but it is very rare in cities and towns.

Insecticides will kill predatory insects like Dragonflies that have mosquitoes as their primary food source. The Mosquitoes have a much shorter reproductive cycle than the predators and you will end up with more Mosquitoes than before. That is not to mention killing beneficial insects like honey bees and butterflies. Insect-eating birds and bats are also vulnerable and people cannot help being exposed to spraying. Some of the insecticides are extremely deadly to humans and some are systemic in the plants and the nectar from the flowers of sprayed plants will kill bees and butterflies. Spraying insecticides up and down the rivers and ponds is enormously expensive and an ecological disaster. Window screening, mosquito netting and repellent are some effective ways to keep from being bitten. Mosquitoes typically come out at dawn and dusk. 

Dragonflies will protect us from all species of mosquitoes all the time.

One solution might be to reintroduce native dragonflies to areas where spraying has rendered them nearly extinct.

Please read “The Silent Spring” by Rachel Carson.

DDT has been banned but some of the insecticides in use today are much worse.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.