Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Folly of Mosquito Abatement

On a recent morning walk with Shasta we saw parked along Turner Road a pickup with the logo on the the side for the Marin-Sonoma District Mosquito and Vector Control. A man was walking along the road above a small pond looking for the owners of the pond. "Yieks!" I thought to myself, "spraying toxins." Well, maybe not totally toxic control, but decreasing and/or eliminating mosquitos removes a much needed food source for birds so that humans will not be affected by the organisms that might potentially be carried by these BEings.

It seems to me that mosquitos are part of the natural fiber/web of life. These, what often humans think of as nasty, insects provide high protein food for insect eating birds: flycatchers, swallows and many others like one of my favorites, the Black Phoebe. 

MuRefuge, a wildlife habitat, has a small pond as well as birdbaths, to provide water for the birds to drink and in which to bathe.
A Spotted Towhee bathing in the birdbath Dwight
made. The birdbath has Datura leaves imprinted on it.
And a sparrow joining in.
What a delighful vision!
Water lilies grow in two large pots and the birds use these, too. Shasta likes to drink from all of these containers, also. When visitors come, often their first question is "what about the mosquitos?" And my usually response is "they provide food for the myriad insect eating birds who visit MuRefuge in search of food." If we, using toxic substances to kill, eradicate one niche in our environmental fabric, we affect the entire fabric. As Aldo Leopold learned early on in his career working on public lands, if we kill the predator, ie. the wolf, to provide more game to hunt . . . oops, the game animals overpopulate with many members of the herd becoming ill because of their diminished food source. Predators are necessary for the health of the whole, an interdependent web of all inhabitants of our planet.

 As you ponder the benefits of the entire food chain, may you


  1. An ifomrative email I received: "Hi Cathie, I just read your blog. The abatement guy, near where I used to live, came every year. There was a hidden pond,back in the blackberries, beyond the house I lived in. The owners had the abatement guy come and stock the with fish that eat the mosquito eggs. No spraying is done on that property. Sharon"

  2. Another email response: "Yes our fear gets in the way of nature and her balances. We are such stupid humans as the animals say all to often.
    Thanks for the lovely post.

  3. I think it is a good exercise to look for the good in things that are often labeled as "bad". Reminds me of the Shakespeare quote: “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”