Every day more and more articles report massive mosquito sprayings in cities or rural areas amid the reports of Zika virus cases identified in different states and people either supporting these sprayings or protesting against them. So I figured it is time for InsectCop, too, to weight in on this matter.
The reason why counties decide that mosquito spraying, be it using a handheld insecticide sprayers or an areal spraying method when the insecticide is sprayed from a plane or a helicopter over a large area, is the best way to combat mosquitoes, is because these mosquitoes are spreading diseases like Zika virus and West Nile virus in these areas. And since these diseases can be very dangerous to certain groups of people, it is very important that mosquito prevalence and breeding is halted, so no more people can contract one of the mosquito-born diseases.
On top of that insecticide and more specifically the spraying of insecticide is employed, because by distributing the insecticide this way, not only it can be done that much faster, but also it covers the sprayed area more thoroughly, so the insecticide really settles on all of the surfaces and is able to do what it is supposed to do. On top of that to distribute the insecticide with the help of sprayers, it also makes sure that the insecticide remains on the surfaces for a longer time, which in return ensures that the sprayings need to be done less frequently.
The downsides to mosquito spraying, especially if it is done from an aircraft and over a large territory, is that it sprays everything in its path, not sparing things like bees and other beneficial insects, to who insecticide is very toxic. On top of that this method of insecticide distribution also will most likely spray plants, vegetables, houses and everything in its path, giving it all a toxic layer of insecticide that can cause problems for more sensitive people.
So can you say that the mosquito spraying is good or bad? Probably not because there are upsides and downsides to it. I as a mosquito control exert can say, that spraying the insecticide (although is not overall the most efficient way how to control the mosquito population) still is something we need to do if we want to stop the spread of common mosquito-borne diseases, but especially the spread of Zika, since it poses the biggest threat to different demographic groups. However, I admit that the areal mosquito sprayings, particularly in the light of millions of deaths of honeybees in some U.S. states, might not be the best method that governments could use to spray populated areas. So I would propose a change in the mosquito spraying policy by using areal mosquito spraying only over unoccupied areas and ground mosquito spraying in populated areas. On top of that I would also suggest for the state or county governments to make sure that their decisions regarding mosquito spraying not only are transparent but also that they really work on informing their inhabitants about the importance and benefits of the sprayings and about the spraying themselves, so they are ready and have a chance to refuse the straying if they themselves are able to provide some other method of mosquito control to their propriety.