Sunday, February 14, 2010

Mosquito Vector Control

They use helicopters to control the environment in which mosquitoes breed (their "vector" in weird speak).This chopper had two bins attached as it flew back and forth dropping clouds of pellets onto my car:Bacillus Thuringensis is supposed to control the pests by interrupting their breeding cycle or something. I first met BT when I was a reporter in California about 25 years (erk!) ago and fruit flies were causing problems. BT was viewed with deep scepticism by people who had fought to have DDT suppressed.BT dispersed this way looks harmless enough as it floats on puddles of rainwater:It was the first time I ever got up close to these things one day while I walked Cheyenne on Big Pine Key. She ignores human made noises and is as unmoved by a helicopter buzzing her as she is by a thunderstorm overhead. The pellets looked like some alien cereal to me. I half wanted to try them with some milk:And this stuff, unlike chemicals is not harmful to a car's paint (I hope!): As unlikely as it seems the Mosquito Control District of Monroe County is a hotbed of dissent and drama just at the moment. The county has been having issues one way and another with the State Attorney moving ahead on his campaign promise to wipe out corruption. The Bug Board as the headline writer for the Citizen newspaper likes to call them, have been arguing rather volubly and rather publicly.
The first problem arose when it was discovered the boss of the District is the highest paid public official in the county. And he head sup the smallest public agency in the county. As I recall his base pay rate was something like $185,000 a year and he took umbrage when it was suggested it might be rather too much money.Then the manager of the district appointed a deputy and board members got all in a huff saying he didn't have the authority. Then somebody else suggested two members of the board had been discussing stuff improperly between themselves violating Florida's Sunshine Law which requires the business of the public to be carried out in public... and on and on and on.Meanwhile I'm happy to see the business of suppressing mosquitoes and their abundant habitat goes on by the lower paid echelons of the district. All this standing freshwater produced by the abundant rains is excellent habitat for mosquitoes and were it not for the helicopters and trucks buzzing around life would be a living hell for any warm blooded mammal breathing carbon dioxide. Mosquitoes are attracted to CO2 so if you stop breathing they will reportedly loose interest. A better solution is to spray like hell and wait for the waters to recede...I hope the Bug Board gets their shit together after the upcoming election if not before so we can live to breathe another day.