Sympathy for the Mosquito? Anti-Spraying Hysteria Reaches the Absurd
“Save Our Mosquitoes” isn’t a plea one expects to hear these days, with the mosquito-borne West Nile Virus killing hundreds and making thousands of people sick. But just two summers ago, someone posted that very appeal on a sign in Chargin Falls, Ohio. These “poor bugs” were indeed at risk as the town debated whether to spray pesticides that year. Residents, feeling unduly merciful, gave the mosquitoes a stay of execution: No spraying in 2002. Discovered by an official from the local health department, the sign shows how bizarre the debate about mosquito spraying has become. While it makes good sense for every community to consider all the facts about spraying, few of these debates have focused on any rational discussion—instead falling prey to misinformation campaigns and hysteria.