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No Spray News

James Irwin
PO Box 6393
Columbia, SC  29260


May 21, 2002      Page 1

City Council Temporarily Bans Mosquito Spraying

  Columbia City Council, with only E. W. Cromarte dissenting, voted on May 1 to ban mosquito spraying for 30 days. Councilman Hamilton Osborne, who has led the way on this issue, told me that:

- The city will be doing surveillance to find out what kinds of mosquitoes there are (and how many).
- The city will not be spraying this year "unless there is a scientifically valid basis that it will do some good."

   Councilman Osborne said that he hoped that there would not be any spraying at all this year. I applaud members of City Council for their timely and prudent action on this matter.

   The city's new spraying policy suggests a number of questions:

- Does finding significant numbers of a mosquito species controllable by source reduction and/or larviciding indicate a need for spraying, or just better source reduction and/or larviciding?

- Do temporary infestations of floodwater mosquitoes after flooding rains warrant spraying?

- Will surveillance be done where it will be representative of mosquito levels in built-up areas that are sprayed, or will it be done where it will find the most mosquitoes (as Richland County does)?


   Getting Richland County Council to address this issue is going to be much more difficult, although a couple of council members, particularly Kit Smith, have expresed interest.

Setting the Story Straight

   The State (Columbia, SC Newspaper) reported on April 27 that Richland County uses 3 different insecticides - malathion, permethrin, and resmethrin - and that "the county calculates several factors ... daily to determine which chemical to use." When I called Tammie Brewer of Richland County Vector Control about this, she said that the county basically sprays only malathion from its trucks, although there is some resmethrin on hand, in case it is too cold to spray malathion. Ms. Brewer told me that the State reporter had not even talked to her, and she guessed that an old press release was the source of the report.

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