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CITY TO SPRAY PESTICIDES OVER MOST OF UWS TO GET RID OF MOSQUITOES

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The city plans to spray a pesticide throughout the neighborhood starting Wednesday night “to reduce mosquito activity and the risk of West Nile virus.” The spraying will take place from West 66th street up into Harlem between 8:30 p.m. Wednesday and 6 a.m. Thursday.

The health department says it is spraying “due to rising West Nile virus activity” and it is focusing on areas that have high mosquito populations.

“For these sprayings, the Health Department will use a very low concentration of Anvil® 10+10, a synthetic pesticide. When properly used, this product poses no significant risks to human health.”

(We’ve written about local mosquito infestations and West Nile spraying before.)

See the notice below, sent in by reader Jackie, for more info on precautions you should take. This flyer also has more information. A group called the No Spray Coalition has protested the sprayings, saying they harm public health. If the weather is bad on Wednesday night, the spraying will start on Thursday.

spraying notice 2015

Below, check out a video of a truck spraying pesticides in the city.

NEWS, OUTDOORS | 51 comments | permalink
    1. Erica says:

      Choosing to do this on the hottest day of the week and possibly the summer when air quality will already be bad. Way to go.

      • Independent says:

        1.) I would assume that the date is scheduled well in advance.

        2.) It would be nice if, upon learning of the heat and humidity in the forecast, the City would reschedule but I don’t know how practical that would be. Looking at the seven-day forecast, it looks a lot of rain and thunderstorms are likely over the next several days at least. I would also think that each day that is delayed gives the mosquitoes more time to breed and multiply.

        3.) All that said, I note that some have commented here that such spraying is altogether ill-advised. If their claims and arguments are valid, then one has to wonder why the City is doing this and not what have been claimed as more effective alternatives that are also less disruptive and potentially harmful to humans and other forms of life.

      • Laney says:

        Does anyone know if they are doing the spraying tonight or postponed due to weather?

    2. Nora says:

      Thank you for posting this. We’ve had an awful problem with mosquitos, particularly culex molestus (the night biters), and anything that can be done to reduce the population is welcome.

    3. Nelson says:

      I’m all for the spraying, since the W 80s are apparently “ground zero” for the disease carrying biters. Thank you WSR for the warning so we can close our windows. Last year, the way I happened to find out was by the presence of a local TV news crew reporting on it. The Health Dept does a woefully inadequate job of alerting/warning residents in advance.

    4. Karin @ 90th st says:

      We can hardly use our lovely backyard because of very aggressive mosquitos so I sm very happy to see this!! @90th st

    5. AC says:

      Mosquitos?? Our Mayor , , , what a funny guy. He’ll try anything to solve the UWS Homeless problem!

    6. Gigi says:

      Why on the hottest day? Can’t day reschedule for next week when it’s cooler?

    7. Lauren says:

      Should terrace furniture be brought in? Does anyone know? What happens if it’s not?

      Thank you for posting – never would have known otherwise (and my son does have asthma!).

      Where are these signs even posted??

      • Kim says:

        As a precautionary measure I’ve always taken mine in. If you have the space and your furniture if light to carry in I figure why risk it being covered in pesticide if you don’t have to?

    8. Erick says:

      “When properly used, this product poses no significant risks to human health.”

      No significant risks when properly used? Oh, okay, spray away then, Bob. Do I get a choice other than cancer or West Nile virus? And what about the other creatures (dogs, cats, birds, etc.) exposed to the soothing breeze of Anvil 10+10? What happens to them?

      • Terry says:

        Pesticide spraying also kills off beneficial insects such as butterflies, bees, fireflies, dragonflies, katydids, and crickets, which add to the beauty and ecology of NYC. It’s a shame this spraying coincides with the start of monarch butterfly migration through our area, and so presents another peril to an already threatened species.

        Spraying insecticde to kill adult mosquitoes is not even an effective method of control; it is better and safer to apply larvicide to standing water to kill the immature pests.

        The NYC Dept. of Health should stop this indiscriminate spraying of toxic chemicals over our neighborhoods!

        • Independent says:

          Spraying insecticde to kill adult mosquitoes is not even an effective method of control; it is better and safer to apply larvicide to standing water to kill the immature pests.

          Any idea why this is not being done?

          Would there be any way to apply larvicide to the sewers?

          Has anyone demanded answers from the city?

          • Terry says:

            The city does “Aerial Larviciding – Dropping natural bacterial granules by helicopter to marshes and other large natural areas to kill mosquito larvae before they grow into adult mosquitoes. Does not take place in the residential areas of NYC.” [See: http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/html/environmental/wnv-spray.shtml ]

            Not sure they use larvicides in sewer systems.

            • Independent says:

              A belated thanks for your reply, Terry.

              Assuming that the sewers are, in fact, prime breeding grounds for disease-carrying mosquitoes, one has to wonder why larvicidal treatment wouldn’t be applied all throughout the entire run of the sewer system– even those parts located in residential areas.

              I must ask, on what do you base your claim that, “Spraying insecticide to kill adult mosquitoes is not even an effective method of control”? Can you cite any published data?

              Only with actual data can an appropriate risk-benefit analysis of such spraying be made. I also wonder any considerations have been made that weigh the risks and potential risks of the heavy use of repellants such as DEET against those of contracting West Nile and other diseases spread by mosquitoes and the like (specifically, here in New York City).

              Of course, were I to invest the time to research the topic, I suspect that I could discover quite a bit of information. Since, however, my interest in the topic at this point is rather limited and my time is already very much in demand (and I am hardly in a position to actually accomplish much anyway), this is one area that I will leave to others for now.

              I also wonder about the idea of promoting the installment of window, door and even porch and balcony screens. Are landlords even required to provide and maintain window screens? I did a quick search but the only results I saw pertained to window guards.

        • Andrew says:

          I share Terry’s concern about the potential effect on our beneficial insect neighbors as well as the risk to humans. For the past couple of summers I have seen fewer honeybees in my garden and was alarmed by news of neonicotinoids, a new class of highly toxic insecticide used by commercial growers, including those who supply garden centers, that remains in the tissue of plants and can kill pollinators. I live on W. 75, with a very full garden behind the building, many of the flowering plants purchased new every spring. I can’t say there has been a mosquito problem here this summer except for those ankle biters beginning in August, but, oddly, in the past day or two (today is 9/12) I’ve noticed more mosquitoes, more bees, and more butterflies in my garden. We have a pair of cardinals back here, too, and a hummingbird paid a visit recently. So behind the buildings would seem to be healthy, and maybe surviving mosquitoes are seeking refuge here from the spraying. Agree the city should go after mosquitoes in the sewers if that’s where they breed.

      • Marianne says:

        Very well put!

        • Terry says:

          Thank you!
          Sorry I misspelled insecticide… and sorry residents and wildlife were subjected to this toxic exposure.

    9. Diana Bloom says:

      Bizarre question: Will this at all affect the presence of bedbugs indoors?

    10. Claudia says:

      Great seeing the video of the truck spraying the air above the CEMENT streets. How about IN the parks?

    11. Pedestrian says:

      The CDC says that this type of spraying is the least effective type of control.. Further the product being used is an endocrine disrupter. The impact of an endocrine disrupter is long lived and multifaceted. As a result, the impact on human health is not negligible.

      What’s up with the City?

    12. Dee says:

      If you’re gonna complain, then please provide a SOLUTION!

      • kev says:

        Really? You have to provide a solution to complain? When did you make up that rule? I can oppose a bad idea without proposing a new one. Or, the solution is, don’t spray, full stop.

    13. Fred arum says:

      Nice timing. Right after Labor Day when school starts so all the kids (and others) can get their full dose of pesticide exposure when going to school and playing in Central Park.

    14. Kenneth says:

      Five years ago the UWS mosquito problem was non-existent but it has been getting progressively worse each summer. The mosquitoes have been out of control this year since mid July. It is impossible to sit outside in any kind of garden/back-yard environment without spraying on the DEET. There is been virtually no rain all summer so the standing water in which they breed is, it would seem, virtually non existent – so where are they breeding? Has the City investigated that?

      • Sam says:

        In the sewers as they normally do.

      • Nelson says:

        Sam is correct. The problem is subterranean. Spraying the air is a band-aid, not a solution. Something needs to be done under the street surface. The poor ConEd guys must get eaten alive.

      • AC says:

        Ken, as a resident of the hood for over 45 years, I can also add that we have a lot more greenery in the city. Trees and shrubs along streets and islands along Broadway where non-existent when I was growing up.

    15. Kate Missett says:

      I’d rather take a chance with a pesticide than West Nile virus. Good for the city for doing this!

    16. NYCMAVEN says:

      WHATEVER DOES “NO SIGNIFICANT RISK” ACTUALLY MEAN?

      AND TO WHOM? GROWN PEOPLE? KIDS? BABIES? SMALL DOGS? MEDIUM SIZE DOGS? BIG DOGS?

      EH WOT?

    17. LJ says:

      I can’t believe they are doing this on the First Day of School! Are they nuts?
      And the problem is in the sewers. It’s not the sidewalks.
      This is nonsense and ineffective.

      • Kenneth says:

        LJ – what prompts or qualifies you to make this statement? What has the first day of school have to do with it. Would last week be better when the kids are outside all day? Stop and think.

    18. Independent says:

      The spraying will take place from West 66th street up into Harlem between 8:30 p.m. Wednesday and 6 a.m. Thursday.

      Ten-and-a-half hours? That’s an awfully long window of time, isn’t it? Can it really not begin several hours later, when most people will be in already anyway?

      • Vince says:

        It is so pathetic to read your cheers and support when the nefarious ones decide to spray toxic chemicals into our environment. How “dumbed down” are you, UWS? Here’s what you need to know.
        Top 10 Lies About West
        Nile Virus and Anvil
        Insecticide Spray

        http://www.rense.com/general3/lieswnv.htm

        You want a solution. Safer ones exist, do some research. I live in the 70’s and don’t have a mosquito issue.

        I can’t fight them alone because the majority of you morons on the UWS support this spraying. Fortunately, I know how to protect myself from events like this, but for those of you that support it, you reap what you sow… wake up!

        • Independent says:

          Did you mean to post this in reply to me?

          Where did you find “cheers and support” for this spraying in any of my posts?

          On the contrary, if you were to actually read them, you might find that I actually voiced skepticism and asked questions.

        • Marianne says:

          It’s really scary that most Upper West Siders were not aware that there was supposed to be spraying tonight. I agree with Vince after having done some research, the toxins being sprayed are detrimental and with long-term consequences to our health and seem to make no sense… what is being done to us!!???? So scary!!!!!!

    19. Maria says:

      Did the UWS get sprayed tonight (9/9)? We face an inner courtyard and can’t see the street. Any updates?

    20. Aviva says:

      Having spent several days in the hospital with a husband suffering from a viral encephalitis brought on by an insect bite I am very aware of the potential threat Mosquitos pose to health and happy for the spraying. This summers reality check was both scary and humbling…

    21. Lizabeth says:

      When is it safe to open my windows?
      Did they spray last night even though it was raining?

      • leslie says:

        Yes – it would be nice if someone provided an update. My son has asthma and we kept him in his room with just a fan last night. So… health board, what’s the deal? Are we done spraying toxins all over the neighborhood?

      • Maria says:

        B. Shelton (above) says they were spraying very early this a.m. I believe the City said to keep windows closed until 6 a.m. I have mine open now.

    22. Walter says:

      Just wondering if the spraying happened last night? Since it was raining last night (and still raining today) has it been postponed? If so will they now wait until Friday?