The following brief from the Associated Press appeared in today’s Contra Costa Times "Around The State" section:
"Sacramento — Mosquito spray deployed this summer in the Central Valley exterminated more than the targeted insect, killing ants, beetles, midges and other tiny creatures, according to field samplings by UC Davis.
"The Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control District hired pilots to spray the skies above Davis and Woodland for two nights in August. The EverGreen Crop Protection EC 60-6, a short-lived pesticide, was aimed at killing enough mosquitoes to break a cycle of West Nile virus infection that can move from bird to bug to human.
"The spraying spared larger insects such as dragonflies and butterflies. But Walter Boyce, co-director of the UC Davis Wildlife Health Center, said researchers should study the effects of the insecticide on threatened or endangered bugs."
I couldn’t agree more with Walter’s statement. It’s very important to do what we can to stop the spread of the West Nile virus in California and other states, and one immediate action that can be taken is to kill the mosquitoes that carry the virus. People are dying from this deadly disease.
But right now there’s a LOT of insecticide spraying going on throughout the state of California and it offers researchers a unique opportunity to study the secondary effects of this spraying on other non-target species of insects.(This is all the more important since I recall that there was some talk early on by a few mosquito and vector control districts that this spraying would only kill mosquitoes.)
Walter suggests they focus on threatened and endangered insects, but I think we should take a look at the effects on ALL species of insects.
Threatened and endangered bugs are important because their populations are already dangerously low. But common insects are also important because they are food sources for many species of birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles. And maybe somewhere down the line, they also feed other threatened of endangered creatures.
These studies might also uncover a method of controlling the West Nile virus that doesn’t affect non-target species. That would be nice.