Naled kills mosquitoes. It’s very effective at it; and when sprayed from planes, it can easily reach areas that fumigation trucks cannot.
Houston still has lots of standing water left from Hurricane Harvey. The standing water also makes the perfect conditions for breeding Mosquitoes. Said unlikable vermin are thick on the ground in Texas right now. Mosquitoes that can carry West Nile, Zika, Chikungunya, and Dengue. Because of this; the US Air Force -at the request of local authorities- plans to aerially spray over 600,000 acres in Harris County, TX (the County in which Houston is located) today.
Naled is an neurotoxin that interferes with an enzyme called acetylcholinesterase that is essential to both humans and insects. It kills mosquitoes… And bees. Also kills many other beneficial insects. South Carolina killed millions of bees last year when they sprayed Naled to control the mosquito population there. Aerial spraying poses the greatest risk to honey bees; hive owners are encouraged to cover or moves hives and provide a clean source of food following spraying. Localities are encouraged to spray before 6:30am and after 8:30pm in order to minimize risks to honeybees.
Failure to notify beekeepers, spraying at inappropriate times, or spraying on particularly warm nights (when bees may crowd the entrance of hives in a phenomena known as bearding) can cause catastrophic results, as seen in Dorchester County, North Carolina when Nelad was sprayed over large areas in an attempt to control the spread of the Zika virus. Hive owners who were aware of the spraying took precautions to protect their hives, though they did not all prove successful. Those owners who did not receive notification, along with many who did, suffered complete losses of their bees. One bee farm alone lost over 2.5 million bees.
One can only imagine that wild bees and other beneficial insects were killed in even greater numbers.
The use of Naled is not a series of isolated instances. Naled is used routinely across the country, with local health departments spraying roughly 16 million acres with the insecticide each year. Additionally, after disasters like hurricanes and flooding, it is often the first choice to curb mosquitoes and the illness they carry.
Fears are real on both sides. Don’t spray and risk illness that can cause lasting damage or death to people. Or spray and risk killing pollinators who help pollinate our food and plants, as well as other beneficial insects, many of which are already struggling to survive.
The problem is that decisions like this happen all the time. People always end up making the discussion as to whether we exterminate, kill, or massacre the bees. The problem is the bees never have a spokesman or a voice. The worldwide population of bees is declining and without the honeybee we lose the best and only pollinator that we have for our industrial agriculture. One out of every three bites of food people eat comes because a honey bee pollinated that plant.
It’s infuriating to see them not consider the other option; trade these aerial sprays for using BTI which kills mosquito larvae. The bacillus thuringiensis serotype israelensis (BTI) is non-toxic to other insects, animals, and people- so the risk does seem much, right? But this bacteria helps kill larvae of gnats, mosquitoes, and blackflies. Wouldn’t helping control those insects populations be nice? Wouldn’t helping to save the bees be awesome? Not only now but in the future? Naled is so dangerous to the bees and we have this alternative and safer procedure just sitting around- just maddening! We should stop this nonsense and remember- we lose the bees and a lot of commercial and personal farms will suffer massive losses, and many people will start to go hungry. These hard workers need our help before it is too late. The bees drop in numbers all the time -all over the world- and many won’t notice until the food industry begins to falter. Let’s reconsider our methods before we lose what we take for granted.