The City’s policy:
- The entire city of Little Rock is sprayed/fogged during the evenings (after 5 PM) on a schedule from April until the first frost. Every other street is sprayed.
- Neighborhoods are not notified of scheduled spraying since there are many factors affecting whether or not they are able to spray. These factors include wind speeds greater than 10 mph, rain, and the presence of individuals outside their homes.
- When an individual calls 311 to request mosquito control, the entire neighborhood is subject to spraying.
- The City of Little Rock buys its mosquito control products from Clarke. The two products used are called “Mosquito Master” and “Mosquitomist.” They are applied alternately on a 3-week rotation from April until the first frost.
- The labels on these chemicals state they are “extremely toxic to aquatic organisms” and “highly toxic to bees.” I highly recommend reading the labels for yourself.
- The mist is “ultra fine,” which means it can cover a very large surface area relative to volume. The mist has a 350-foot drift.
- You can opt out of spraying by calling 501-888-2208 or 3-1-1. They will try to stop spraying 350 feet before and after your house because of the drift. This does not guarantee your property will not be sprayed.
- The Solid Waste Division is responsible for spraying. Warren Atkins is the director. He can be reached at 501-888-4581.
- The City also works with UALR to monitor and control mosquito larvae, which is a much more effective method of management. However, this is only applied to public property, not private.
The following suggestions are taken from BeyondPesticides.org.
How individuals can protect themselves from exposure to dangerous pesticides:
- Leave the area.*
- * Infants, children, pregnant women, the elderly, and individuals with compromised immune systems are the most vulnerable populations and should take extra care to avoid pesticide exposure. People with multiple chemical sensitivities or other pesticide illnesses are also more vulnerable to pesticide exposure.
- Close the windows.
- Turn off air intake on window unit air conditioners.
- Take toys and lawn furniture inside.
- Remove shoes before entering homes to avoid tracking in residues.
- Cover swimming pools.
- Don’t let children play near or behind truck-mounted applicators or enter an area that has just been sprayed.
- Wipe off paws of pets with a wet cloth before they re-enter your home.
Spraying has been proven to be ineffective for controlling mosquito populations. Even Zika virus experts interviewed on radio, t.v., and online acknowledge this fact. Spraying only kills adult mosquitoes that come into contact with the pesticide while it is airborne. In addition, mosquitoes can easily build up resistance to pesticides over time. So what can you do about these pests? We have a few facts to share on the matter.
How to control mosquitoes safely and effectively:
- Wear repellant. The safety of DEET is questionable - do your research. Natural repellants made with essential oils can be made at home or bought at local stores and farmers markets. Neem oil repellants are also effective.
- Apply a repellent in your yard. There are several products on the market to serve this purpose. Garlic sprays are a popular choice.
- Buy a device like the Mosquito Magnet to kill adult mosquitoes.
- Try making your own mosquito larvae trap like this one called the ovillanta. It is being used to fight the Zika virus and is made out of old tires.
- Attract birds, frogs, bats, and other beneficial creatures to your yard.
- Have a few backyard chickens. Mosquitoes=free chicken food!
- Empty ALL standing water. This includes places like birdbaths, but it also includes less obvious places like small lids, pet dishes, shovels, gutters, holes in trees, tarps, and pots where water can collect.
- Use Mosquito Dunks in birdbaths, drainage ditches, rain barrels, gutters, etc. These dunks use B.t. toxin, which kills mosquito larvae. This soil-derived toxin will also kill bees, butterflies, caterpillars, and other organisms, so use sparingly.
- Use plants in your landscaping that naturally deter mosquitoes. These include garlic, onions, citronella, lemongrass, peppermint, basil, thyme, geranium, and marigold.
- Keep window and door screens in good working order.
If all else fails, stay indoors during peak hours of mosquito activity (dusk).
An excellent resource for more information on pest control is BeyondPesticides.org.
It would send a clear message to the City of Little Rock if entire neighborhoods opted out of mosquito spraying. This service is not only financially and environmentally costly, but it is also ineffective. Kindly share the information you learned from this post with neighbors who might be interested.