City should have switched to 'larvacide'

August 28, 2003

Dear Editor:

By voting for adulticide rather than larvacide at Monday's City Commission meeting, the city missed an important opportunity to curtail Danville's mosquito problem and the West Nile Virus risk.

The city code enforcement officer said at Monday's meeting that they've been spraying adulticide for 20 years in Danville, including recently this summer, and the mosquito problem persists.

Keith Hamilton from the Kentucky Department of Agriculture told me that there's "no comparison" between adulticide and larvacide - larvacide is more effective. The national Centers for Disease Control recommend larvacide, and not adulticade, for cities in our situation.


At Monday's meeting, the county health department director, a physician, and several others who had looked deeply into the issues explained why larvacide is more effective against mosquitoes and West Nile Virus, safer for humans, no more expensive (Keith Hamilton says the state will provide either one to us), and longer lasting.

Here's the gist of it: Adulticide kills a small fraction of adult mosquitoes, it works only for a few hours, and it does not kill the hundreds of eggs each female lays. Adulticide also kills the mosquitoes' predators - dragonflies, fish, birds, and so on, so when the many eggs hatch, the young mosquitoes are far more likely to survive, and the mosquito problem may well get worse. In contrast, larvacide kills the hundreds of eggs, it is not a nerve toxin that affects humans, it can last several weeks or more, and it is harmless to most of the mosquitoes' predators. Thus, it is clearly the right choice for everyone who agrees that we've got to do something about the mosquitoes and their diseases.

If mosquitoes are bothering you, or you don't like the potential dangers posed by the three additional adulticide sprayings planned for this season, call or write the city and ask for one thing: larvacide. You can also request that your property not be sprayed with adulticide. The next adulticide spraying may be as soon as next week.

David Anderson


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