Fulton Village Civic Association

mosquito spraying

Posted in: Sharpstown

In todays newpaper (Friday June 8, 2007) one-fourth of the front page is devoted to county spraying for West Nile. The headline reads ''County sprays for West Nile - but too much?'' The article says, ''But now another worry has surfaced: whether the county's multiple spraying operations will build insects' immunity to the chemicals ... some mosquito populations are being overexposed to the same chemicals, which could help those insects develop immunities that make them tougher to kill ...''.

I have warned the Association over two years ago about the danger of spraying for mosquitoes every Thursday (also known as ''calendar spraying'').

''Unlike the county, which sprays only at specific times to dampen mosquito-borne viruses such as West Nile, private companies (like our association) spray on a more regular basis to control nuisance mosquitoes, which pose no imminent health threat. And the more exposure mosquitoes endure, the tougher they get.''

''Mosquito control is often justified because mosquitoes can carry disease, such as encephalitis. However, the use of Scourge and other toxic pesticides is never justified for nuisance control.''

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta points out that ''Calendar Spraying'' (every Thursday) is not good.

The problem with spraying for mosquitoes every week is that the mosquitoes become resistance to the pesticide over time. Spraying should only occur when mosquitoes carry disease.

By Sharpstowner

page 2

Under-spraying is when you use less then the recommend dosage of pesticide. Consider the following.

''that some companies, to save money, dilute their pesticide, which not only doesn't kill mosquitoes, it promotes resistance in the offspring of survivors.''

''Some private bids to municipalities and communities are lower than the actual cost of the pesticides, To make money on these cheap bids, the product has to be diluted.''

''One way mosquitoes develop resistance to pesticides: To save money, mosquito spray is diluted or spread too widely. Mosquitoes treated with weakened solution are stressed, but not killed. Surviving mosquitoes create pesticide-resistant offspring. WHAT DOESN'T KILL THEM MAKES THEM STRONGER''

''Ensure pesticide equipment calibration. Never allow pesticides to be diluted to save cost, as sub- lethal doses may result in pesticide resistance.''

The Math

Is under-spraying occurring? Let do the math. The following are some calculations using the Scourge 18+54 label instructions.

For truck spraying you are suppose to follow a chart. The chart has spraying rates from .001 to .007. Lets use the lowest rate for truck spraying which is .001 Lets calculate how many acres have to be sprayed in Sharpstown every year.

In Sharpstown there are 6823 homes. The smallest lots are in Section 1. They are 60 feet wide by 120 long. Add 30 feet for the distance to the center of the street. So we have 60 X (120 +30)=9000 square feet. Please note that many homes have much larger lots. For 6823 homes we have 6823 X 9000= 61,407,000 square feet.

Spraying is done from May through October for a total of six months, or for 24 weeks. So 24 X 61,407,000 = 1,473,768,000 square feet. This is equal to 33,833 acres that have to be sprayed for mosquitoes every year.

The pesticide ''Scourge'' is supposed to be mixed with mineral oil. For the lowest spraying rate of ''.001'' this is one part Scourge with 4.5 parts mineral oil. Half an ounce of this mixture is supposed to be applied per acre. So 1/(1+4.5) X .5 X 33,833 = 3075 ounces or 24 gallons of Scourge.

It is difficult to find the price of Scourge. The following is a list compiled from bids to the government for 50 gallon drums of Scourge.

$360/gallon, Feb 2006, Brazoria County Tx
$344/gallon, March 2004, South Dakota
$374/gallon, March 2004, Jefferson County TX
$310/gallon, June 2003, New Jersey
$304/gallon, Sept 2000, Massachusetts

Massachusetts paid $304/gallon for Scourge way back in September 2000. 24 gallons will then cost $7296.

According to the 2005 financial report, the Association spent $6,075 for spraying. For 2006 the Association spent $6561. In other words the cost of the chemicals exceeds the cost of the spraying!

Remember we are neglecting all other overhead costs such as gasoline, insurance, and vehicle maintenance. We are also using the lowest dosage on the label. The exterminator is losing money.

Its up to you to decide if the exterminator is a sucker spraying Sharpstown at a financial loss or if underspraying is occurring.

By Sharpstowner
page 3

In the newsletters the Association makes the following statements.

''Mosquito Spraying. This service is provided from May through October (this is NOT done by the city or the county unless West Nile virus is detected).''

''SCA contracts with a pest control service to provide mosquito spraying throughout all of residential Sharpstown (this is not done by Harris County).''

''YOU MAY HAVE NOTICED: The sound of mosquito spraying in November. Normally, spraying ends in October, but your board voted to extend spraying for another month to deal with the unusually late mosquitoes. Your dues pay for all sprayings - neither the City nor County provide this service.''

The Association does not explain WHY the city or county does not spray for mosquitoes unless West Nile virus is detected. Homeowners conclude that the city/county are acting in an irresponsible manner- that the city/county are putting Sharpstown residents' lives in jeopardy.

The reason the city/county do not spray unless West Nile Virus is detected is that mosquitoes develop resistance to pesticides over time, rendering the chemicals ineffective. Spraying should only occur when mosquitoes carry disease.

This creates problems for the exterminator but the Association goes ahead and claims in the newsletters that Sharpstown needs mosquito spraying every week from May to November.

You can bet that the exterminator is ''itching'' for mandatory dues to go into effect.

More Facts

''EPA believes that no pesticide can ever be considered perfectly safe.''

''If the same pesticide is continually applied, then the more susceptible individuals will be killed, leaving only resistant individuals to breed and multiply''.

''Pregnant women, fetuses, infants, and children have a greater risk of getting sick from pesticides.''

''The elderly and the chronically ill are at greatest risk from chemically induced immune-suppression.''

''Uncertainty exists regarding the long-term health effects of low-dose pesticide exposure.''

By Sharpstowner
page 4, the end

''SCOURGE may interfere with your liver, thyroid, immune and endocrine systems.''

''You are more likely to die by plane crash than from West Nile Virus.''

''Close to 99.9 % of sprayed chemicals go off into the environment where they can have detrimental effects on public health and ecosystems, leaving 0.10% to actually hit the target pest.''

''Mosquitoes can also become resistant to the pesticide sprays after repeated exposures, the group warns. As mosquitoes become resistant, increasingly toxic chemicals must be used to eliminate them.''

''Pesticides kill beneficial insects and natural mosquito predators, such as dragonflies, damselflies, and beetles, potentially increasing local populations of mosquitoes.''

''Children are known to follow spray trucks for entertainment.''

River Oaks

River Oaks, The Heights, and Westbury do not spray for mosquitoes. 30% of homeowners in River Oaks are physicians and lawyers. River Oaks is not spraying due to a lack of money but for health reasons. Sharpstown should do the same.


Mosquito spraying is a two-way threat. First, there is the danger of the pesticide to human health. Second, repeated weekly spraying leads to the breeding of pesticide resistant mosquitoes.

According to the CDC prevention is the best solution. Tall grass, junk in the yard, junk cars, tire ruts are all prime mosquito breeding areas. Mosquito control is useless under these circumstances.

With mandatory dues you should expect the cost to soar. The exterminator can justify spraying up to 3 times per week.

Many experts recommend you close your windows and turn off your air-conditioner when spraying is occurring. Are you going to stay up all night waiting for the exterminator to drive by your house? Also keep in mind that if you park your car outside it will be covered with pesticide.

Houston's air quality is already among the worst in the nation. We certainly don't need to add more chemicals to the air we breathe.

''Spraying has been stopped in many cities across the United States after public outcry over the concerns about the effects of the poison Scourge on human health, especially the health of children.'' Together, we too can stop the spraying of poison in Sharpstown.

The only thing that needs exterminating are homeowners and slumlords that violate deed restrictions. Lets not let special interest groups such as exterminators and chemical companies take advantage of us. It's time to terminate the exterminator!

By Sharpstowner

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