Letter: Fight mosquitoes organically

Suffolk County worker George Harned performs spraying along

Suffolk County worker George Harned performs spraying along the main and side boardwalks in the western end of Davis Park, Fire Island. (Aug. 7, 2012) (Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan)

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Being highly allergic to mosquito bites, I am the last person to advocate for mosquitoes. However, I must protest both aerial and ground spraying of Scourge (resmethrin and piperonyl butoxide) by Nassau and Suffolk counties against mosquitoes ["More Suffolk mosquito spraying," News, Aug. 7].

Insecticides are a short-term, shortsighted and ineffective way to control mosquitoes. Many die, but enough survive so that their offspring evolve to resist the toxins used and even thrive when they are released from competition with other insects. Mosquitoes evolve so quickly because several generations spawn each year.

What Scourge and Malathion -- which was used during the initial West Nile virus scare in 1999 -- do accomplish, among other hazards, is the poisoning of lobsters , the contamination of organic gardens and the pollution of environmental assets such as the Long Island Sound and eventually our groundwater.

I insist that Nassau and Suffolk counties, and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, find safer and more ecologically compatible ways to control mosquitoes.

Most mosquitoes breed in stagnant water, so reducing this should be the focus. County officials could educate homeowners to dispose of unused plastic pools, old tires or buckets; clear clogged gutters; repair leaks around faucets; replace the water in bird baths regularly; and stock ponds with fish and other species that eat mosquito larvae.

Officials could also distribute rain barrels to homeowners and businesses; fill in or provide effective drainage for low-lying areas; make sure bodies of water are aerated to prevent stagnation; bring in predatory species, such as birds, bats and nematodes; and encourage the growth of native mosquito-eating plants, such as the purple pitcher plant.

Billii Roberti, Huntington

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