I have become a pariah in my neighborhood because I asked Calvert Mosquito Control to put my property on their Do-Not-Spray list. However, after attending a bee talk given by the 17- and 18-year-old members of the Northern High School Bee Club, I began to question the whole pesticide problem.
So far, the facts are disturbing. It seems that studies done by scientists — which the government uses for safety guidelines — are done by chemical company scientists.
The Bee Club members sold crafts they made to fund their several trips to Congress. They have presented facts from longtime beekeepers — the ones who lease bees to massive farms in the U.S. and elsewhere —most notably that with the application of chemicals made by Monsanto, the bees have been either dying or fleeing to parts unknown. These systemic pesticides build up in the soil and groundwater, so the effect on the bees took a few years before the problems began.
Well, I have seen a decline here in Calvert County in various insects: butterflies; moths, especially the luna moth; bees; scarab beetles and more. I even miss the pesky Japanese beetle, which I crunched while plucking from a rose.
It also seems that bats, purple martins, hummingbirds, green and also blue herons are not so abundant this summer.
So I wonder if the mosquito control spray program is really helping or, along with systemic pesticides, is having an effect on the environment here on the Bay.
Our beachfront community is bordered by wetlands, woods and low-standing areas where water pools. How effective is a weekly spray? I hear mosquitos can breed in three days … anywhere, such as leaves, gutters, pots, boats, birdbaths, etc.
At a recent association meeting, I tried to explain why I had asked them not to spray my property. I said that possibly insect repellent, applied on the body, would not only help with pesky mosquitos but other disease-bearing pests. The response was, Oh no, I will never use bug spray, especially DEET.
Are other readers feeling similar concerns?
–Betsy Detwiler, Neeld Estates