City can find better way to control mosquitoes

September 05, 2003

Dear Editor:

I'm not surprised that the state recanted its position on the relative efficacy of larvacide for mosquito control. Larvacide is more expensive for the state to provide for blanket applications. The author of last Tuesday's letter on this topic described to me the large cost of applying larvacide to a sizable body of water. Why would they use larvacide at all if it were more expensive and not more effective?

Since Danville doesn't have a large lake that it wants to treat with chemicals, larvacide wouldn't involve high costs here anyway. Unlike adulticide, larvacide need not be applied everywhere in town. Minnows devour mosquito larva and are cheap alternatives for treating the bodies of water that we do have. We would only need larvacide to target the low-lying areas that won't support minnows.

State officials face unfortunate pressure from people who think that chemicals are the only way to go, but we can be smarter than that. Chemicals cause imbalance in the ecosystem. Adulticides in particular threaten to do more harm than good by eliminating the natural predators that normally keep mosquitoes in check.


A mosquito-control program that includes community education, the introduction of natural mosquito predators like minnows, and targeted larvaciding can be safer, cheaper, and more effective than our current adulticide program.

The Kentucky Department of Agriculture has not performed studies on the relative effectiveness of larvacide and adulticide. Although the EPA has banned the adulticide we use - Dursban - for household use due to health risks, as the registering agency, they don't want to take sides. They referred me to Lee County, Fla., where mosquito control is a large interest. Their mosquito control authority told me that larvacide is an essential component of any mosquito control program, but referred me to the American Mosquito Association (AMA) for credible information on efficacy. Under "Larval Control," the AMA Web site states, "The most effective way to control mosquitoes is to find and eliminate their breeding sites." That's what larvacide, minnows, and community education are all about.

In terms of the effectiveness of adulticide, reflect on last summer when that was the attempted solution in Danville. You be the judge. Was it effective, or should we adopt a new program that kills more mosquitoes, fights more disease, and reduces the health risks for our citizens?

David Anderson


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