Skeeter Spray Strafing Starts

This is mostly so those of you who want to comment will have a forum to discuss the pros and cons of bringing out the aerial force to attack the skeeters and their West Nile Virus.

Looks like Monday and Tuesday evenings will be “D-Day” and D-Day plus one. Two small planes will begin their strafing runs over Ada County, filling the sky with an insecticide called Dibrom. A total of 50,000 acres will be attacked on Monday with a repeat attack on Tuesday.

There is no doubt the skeeters have the virus. No doubt it causes illness and even death. Some folks aren’t for the spraying, so that must mean they are “agin it” as a famous Washington leader with about a 35% approval rating once said.

Too bad the skeeters, like tens of thousands of other pests have decided to breed in Ada County. On the positive side, the Commishes claim up to 90% of the skeeters will be gone.

GUARDIAN thinks the skeeters are probably like wildfires: Government has to be seen “helping,” but the problem won’t end until we get some cold weather.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. Why did it take so long and so many ill/dead people to bring in the planes. Guardian is wrong about the effectiveness of dusting bugs from the air. I agree about the fire business though….geeez that costs huge bucks. Killing bugs from the air is likely cheaper than from the ground.

  2. This big concern over the West Nile virus caused me to call up the Health Dept. and ask if they draw blood for testing for West Nile virus for folks who may have symptoms. NO – go to your own doc. What if I can’t afford to see a doctor? I was given a phone number for a doctor who only charges $50.00 (blood draw may not be included). So I called my own doctor – the nurse informed me that they would send me to the hospital for the blood draw AFTER I visit the doctor.

    So much for a big concern on the part of the State Department of H&W and the medical community. I’ve not been tested, but have the same symptoms as a friend who has been. But it’s like any other virus….no treatment unless a secondary infections presents itself.

  3. Oh, by the way, I am ANTI SPRAYING WITH DIBROM. Google Dibrom yourselves and find out what risk we are put to. I would rather put up with the W.N. Virus than risk my family and my future to such poison! Oh, well, I am sure that the gov. will be out of town.
    One of the stated problems is ” it can over stimulate the nervous system causing nausea, dizziness, confusion, and at high exposures, can cause respiratory paralysis and death. One of the byproducts of degradation of Naled is dichlorvos, another registered organophosphate. This compound is of toxicological concern.” While another is “encephalitis increase linked to pesticide use” with dibrom the named pestiticide.

    Tomorrow I will say good bye to my hummingbirds and other wild life who may just succumb to the poison more rapidly than the virus.


  4. Got any spray that will thin out the infestation of Californians, while they’re at it? (They spread traffic, and traffic kills and injures a lot more people than mosquito-borne viruses do.)

  5. I’m against the spraying without more evaluation because I worry it may do more harm than good. While it certainly makes the Commisioners look like they are doing something, I just think it may be the wrong thing.

    Slim Jim’s suggestion is dead on. I educated myself a little on the subject and found that many other cities faced the identical problem which shouldn’t be a surprise since other parts of the country have been facing the problem for years. One study’s executive summary made the following conclusions in addition to the health concerns caused by spreading a toxic substance:

    “Adulticiding, or the spraying to kill adult mosquitoes, has not been proven effective. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that ground and aerial spraying is usually the least effective mosquito control technique.”

    “In addition to exposing the public to toxic pesticides, spraying leaves communities with a false sense of security making them less likely to use effective, non-toxic control measures. Long-term spraying may actually increase the number of mosquitoes by destroying predators that feed on mosquito larvae and adults. Additionally, mosquitoes that are sprayed, but not killed, by the pesticides may become resistant, live longer, become more aggressive biters, and have increased prevalence of [West Nile Virus] within their bodies.”


    The County plans to make a patchwork run concentrating efforts on the river where Boise gets a high percentage of its drinking water. In doing so it will kill not only adult mosquitos but also most of the adult insects in the target zone including mosquito predators like dragonflies. It will do nothing to kill off mosquito larva. We know the mosquito population will rebound well but what about the other riparian insects and fish.

    As a citizen I worry about the harm that we’ll cause in rushing to judgment that this method will be the salvation to the WNV problem. As a flyfisherman I’m astonished that we want to sacrifice an indispensible component of the riparian habitat on a method that may not be effective and indeed may prove more harmful than helpful.

  6. Slim Jim described the diagnostic situation to a tee.

    I had all the symptons but the Doc said, “There is no point in the blood test unless you are anxious to talk to the health dept.” Three days and a $25 co-pay later, I kicked it on my own.

    As for the spraying, it might have made sense in March or April. To spray now, in the dryest part of the year, when the pesticide will likely do more damage to people than to the insects, seems like one more case of elected officials covering their posterior, with tax payer checks, prior to the comming election.

  7. Who actually made the decision to spray? I need to know who to sue if we have health effects from spraying.

    On the news last night it was suggested we close our windows, keep our pets inside, and turn off the air conditioner!!! There are going to be a lot of crabby people going to work on Tuesday and Wednesday after being cooped up in hot houses two nights in a row.

    This seems like overkill to me. I guess if our bird feeders are empty later in the week we will know this isn’t a good idea, but it will be too late then.

    We haven’t noticed any mosquitoes this year in our area of Eagle. I do use repellent if I am in areas that might have the insects.

  8. Gordon, spray not just for Californians, but for dumb ass politicians as well. Why must they come up with such harmful “solutions” to problems? Can’t they start with something reasonable like stop over watering BSU campus and other green expanses, seek out standing water where the larvea is? nooooo just poison the area then tell us that the reason that the French (or whomever) are more healthy is because of the red wine. oh crap. Take a look at the life styles, the lack of certain chemicals in their food and environment. but nooooo, we just read the paper and buy red wine made of grapes that have been sprayed with poisons .
    i am ranting

  9. Too late? Well, they haven’t sprayed yet. I sent an email to the County Commishes asking them to change the plan. I used the info gathered from googling (as suggested by Slim Jim) and from Sisyphus. Get to it folks, let THEM know how you feel. Hey, send a cc to the gov.
    Fast, kids, let’s work on this.

  10. Treva, overkill, that’s hilarious. But you won’t get compensation for your damages from the government for this decision absent an act of congress. Just ask the cancer victims who lived downwind of the nuclear testing in the 50s.

    Ada County Commissioners declared a state of emergency last week and the Governor signed off on it, freeing up state funds. Vector Disease Control only filed to do business in the state in May. No doubt they’ve been lobbying hard for these declarations.

    HH is right as usual. Time to let them know how we feel.

  11. OK so they spray for WNV. What happens next year? and the year after that? We need to sell the rest of the country that Idaho is the West Nile Virus center of the universe. It’s like our own malaria lite. How many people have been hospitalized in Ada and Canyon counties from car accidents due to yaking on cell phones? Why don’t we spray for that? Let’s spray for everything while we’re at it.
    I too have recovered from WNV. For me, it was a bad flu. Glad I didn’t have to go to the hospital. This is total political grandstanding. It won’t make the problem go away and might make it worse. Nature needs to take it’s course. Anyway it looks to me like BoDo can use the extra parking. We need to promote the upside to WNV.

  12. curious george
    Aug 21, 2006, 7:43 pm

    Social Darwinism at play… Interesting solution to an over-abundance of emigrants, “foul your own nest.”

    But we should get off the Californication band-wagon. The majority of new Treasure Valleyians (question? – Valleywellians, Valleyites, Valley-estas, or just plain TV’ers), are from Washington, Oregon, Montana, Wyoming, and Utah (mostly from rural areas, seeking work) – not from California (and certainly not from the large cities of L.A., San Francisco, or San Diego). Seems like the only Intermountain state we’re saved from is Nevada – probably because their economy is the only one that outstrips ours.

    Of course, I used to run behind the pesticide fogging trucks when I was a kid – because it was cool. But back then it was DDT, nothing as noxious as Dibrom.

  13. George, I fear the DDT has softened your judgement. The California thing is not truly an issue, but the figures from new driver licenses clearly show CALIFORNIA is the number one previous home of new residents. GUARDIAN–better watch this guy!

  14. C George, had this same conversation last week. More folks are put up in the hospital and or killed from auto accidents (with as well as without the cell phone) as well as the crap spewed out from the tail pipe, than WNV. But I am sure that the grandstanding and the pockets padded are paying off for the few. As usual the poorer tax payers are paying for it.

    As far as law suits – talk to the guys suffering from Agent Orange – they will tell you how well that goes.

    At least my name is down on record. Too late, yes, but it’s there for the Homeland Security folks (used to just be the FBI).
    Turn off those ac’s folks and shut the windows of your cars too.

    I normally scooter home from taking tickets at the Flicks on Tuesday evenings. I think that I may drive tomorrow night.


  15. I am curious as to how the County decided which areas they would spray and which would not be subjected to such treatment. Did anyone else notice that they aren’t going near the Western Idaho Fairgrounds?

  16. Does any of you smarter folks know what they call the bug killer they’ve been spraying from the back of the small pickups for several years now?? How about the name of the pellets they’ve been throwing in the standing water? Geeze, you’ll get the undies in a bunch about an airplane but not a pickup on the street?? What gives??

  17. Sharon, I was just thinking that. Nonetheless, I would avoid being outside – including the fair – during the spraying periods just because of my own common sense and we have been told to close windows and turn off the ac. They are spraying close enough on the other side of Glenwood to wonder about the safety of my cotton candy!!

    I wonder how the (insect eating) bats will fair. I wonder if we will hear crickets next week as I am hearing them now.

    ohhhh there they go – planes a buzzin’
    it’s war time and some humans feel good about themselves not realizing that we are all a part of some big chain.

  18. The following is from the chemical fact sheet found at the Cornell University Pesticide Management Education Program


    “- Unique warning statements required on labels:
    – The following environmental hazard statement must appear on the
    manufacturing-use product labels:
    – This product is toxic to fish, aquatic invertebrates, and
    wildlife. Do not discharge into lakes, streams, ponds, or public
    water unless in accordance with NPDES permit. For guidance,
    contact your regional office of the Environmental Protection

    This tells me that a NPDES permit is required if any of this stuff is discharged to waters of the US. I would suggest that people start calling the ADA commisioners asking if they have a NPDES permit for the spraying operation. I would also contact the EPA Boise office and ask if a permit has been issued.


    – Based on studies available to assess hazards to wildlife and aquatic
    organisms, naled (dibrom) is characterized as very highly toxic to bees and
    aquatic invertebrates. It is moderately to highly toxic to fish and
    slightly toxic to upland game birds and waterfowl. Insufficient
    data are available to assess the toxicity of naled to estuarine and
    marine organisms.

  19. BIG, thank you, thank you, thank you.
    If no permit has been given we may have to tolerate only one night of poison.

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