City Plans Pesticide-Spraying in Section of Neighborhood on Thursday

The city is planning to spray pesticides throughout the neighborhood on Thursday night to kill mosquitoes, according to notices posted in the area. The spraying will occur after 9 p.m. in an area north of 72nd Street, including part of Central Park, Harlem and Hamilton Heights, as shown in the map below. If it rains, the spraying will occur on Sept. 4.

The pesticide being used is called Anvil 10+10.

“The risks of pesticides applied by the Health Department for mosquito control are low to people and pets,” the Health Department says in a notice. Nonetheless, the city offers some advice for people concerned about being exposed to the pesticides.

But Christine, who sent the flyer below, says that the pesticides are dangerous.

“Not sure (1) why they are doing it at end of summer. Should have been earlier if they are trying to “save” people from mosquito-borne disease, and (2) why they are doing it at all. I had a terrible reaction to Anvil spraying in Central Park years ago, when it was supposed to be “safe” more than 24 hours after spraying. It is a nerve gas poison. Why do we keep killing ourselves in the name of progress???”

NEWS | 29 comments | permalink
    1. Bill says:

      I may have missed an earlier posting, but I’m curious to know if the city’s efforts to drain/fill(?) the under-the-street water basin on 84th Street had any appreciable effect on the mosquito plague on those blocks.

    2. Dissident says:

      West Nile Virus (WNV)

      West Nile is a mosquito-borne virus that can cause encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) or meningitis (inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord). West Nile virus is spread to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito.[…]

      Resources linked from above URL include a listing of all of the areas within the City that West Nile Virus activity has been detected. Note how many times UWS zip codes appear. (TIP: Ctrl+F text-search function is useful).

      Mosquito Control Events Schedule

      In addition to wondering why our area has not been sprayed until now*, I also find it odd that, according to the map pictured on this page, a vast swath of Riverside Park is completely excluded from the scheduled spraying. Why?

      *Note that according to the relevant archived schedule at the site, scheduled sprayings within UWS zip-codes began as early as July 27th last year.

      In response to the complaint about toxicity made by the individual quoted in the article:

      For just about any given substance, there will always be a some people who experience atypical, rare adverse reactions. If we were to base public policy on such small minorities of an overall population, there would be almost no end to the number of substances that we would have to ban. This includes such inherently benign and even wholesome (on balance) substances as peanuts, fish, milk and soy.

      Whatever risks and negatives the pesticides being used may present, they must be weighed against the all-too serious risks that the presence of mosquitoes poses. Do you know of an alternative means of achieving mosquito control that is comparable to the pesticide being used by the City in (a) effectiveness, (b) practicality in applying and, (c) cost?

    3. dannyboy says:

      Any explanation for omitting the blocks between 100-125 Street, west of Morningside/Amsterdam?

    4. NP says:

      Write to Helen Rosenthal ASAP. How can she allow this?
      It is so idiotic – and unsafe.

      • Jeremy says:

        Idiotic and unsafe would be leaving high mosquito numbers in the area when there is a practical way to get rid of them that causes far less harm than the mosquitoes themselves.

        • Rhonda Waggoner says:

          And there it is. Finally – a strong case via risk benefit analysis. Now we need proof…

          • Dissident says:

            Risk-benefit analysis requires weighing the available evidence on both sides of a question and, ultimately, making a call of judgement.

            Whether pro-spraying or anti-spraying, citations to evidence are sorely lacking in the comments in this thread. (With one or two notable exceptions.) Yet, you seem to only demand evidence for the pro-spraying position.

    5. Been There, Scratched That. says:

      The answer to Christine who sent the poster is that the absurdly heavy rains in August led to lots of standing water and that has caused a jump in the mosquito population.

      And, West Nile has been found in mosquitoes in many parts of the metro area.

    6. Deborah R Slater says:

      I think this message should be posted on the lobby bulletin boards by the Elevator Banks.

    7. Beeloved says:

      These trumped up pathogenic viruses are far less of a public health threat than the neurotoxic insecticides they are forcing on everyone.

      • Ye Olde Englishe Teachere says:

        Re: “…These TRUMPed up PATHOGENIC….”

        Oooohhhh….a Freudian slip, perhaps !!


    8. Anonymous says:

      Of course it is concerning to introduce chemicals to environment… having spent time in emergency rooms and hospital with my husband who contracted ‘Tuscan virus’ from a bite in Tuscany that led to encephalitis, I am comforted to know the potential risk of West Nile is diminished from the spray. His experience with encephalitis changed our lives and years later he is still experiencing side effects – sever headache, limited time he can tolerate screens… it was a scary experience!!

    9. Barbara Aubrey says:

      I would think it would be more useful to make sure all the roads are properly drained. I have noticed many large puddles of water days after rain. Friend called 311 about one on her street (she was bitten by a mosquito at the puddle site) and was told 311 does not have contact with the Department of Health.

    10. Priscilla says:

      I saw the truck spraying at 4 am this morning. The suggestion to wash outside toys and equipment should include cars parked on the street. They would be completely covered in Anvil

    11. B flat says:

      Another reason why foraging in central park is a bad idea.

    12. PaulCons says:

      I too want to know why there is a large chunk excluded from spraying. I checked the “West Nile Virus activity has been detected” link to see that zip 10025 had activity on:


      So WHY????

    13. Robert says:

      Beside the late surge in bugs due to all the rain, the idea is to kill as many of the eggs that may have been laid to cut down on the next generation of bugs,
      Many of the buildings on the UWS don’t have doormen and/or easy access for non residents so putting them in lobbies etc is not possible. That is why they where posted all over the neighborhood.

      • Christine E says:

        The spraying only kills adult mosquitoes, not eggs. So the cycle continues, unless/until standing water mosquito breeding grounds are eradicated.

    14. JerryV says:

      Dearly “Beeloved”, If you would spend a bit of time googling the agents being sprayed, you would see that none of these are “neurotoxic” as you claim. That might be Malathion, for instance, which is an organophosphate. But is is not being used. What is being used is Anvil or Duet. These contain pyrethroids, a modified derivative of an extract of Chrysanthemum flowers, which has virtually no mammalian toxicity. They are toxic only to invertebrates and fish. Also to Christine, who tells us,
      “I had a terrible reaction to Anvil spraying in Central Park years ago, when it was supposed to be “safe” more than 24 hours after spraying. It is a nerve gas poison.” First, Anvil is NOT a nerve gas poison (look it up) and second, Anvil was not used in Central Park years ago.

      • Rhonda Waggoner says:

        Bees and migrating Monarchs and all the crickets singing at night.Are they ok with the spraying…

    15. liz says:

      They have been consistently spraying all the burroughs nonstop all summer for many years, excluding Manhattan. This is only the 3rd or 4th time Manhattan has ever been done. And yes, anvil can cause people severe problems. Why else would they tell everyone to stay inside, turn off air conditioners and wash anything exposed. They must think residents are idiots. Risk far outweighs the benefit. This is not florida.

    16. B flat says:

      NYS dept of health has a detailed fact sheet about Anvil, and there is reason to be aware of risks. Wwwdothealthdotnydotgov/publications/2738/

    17. Ronnie Tuft says:

      I quite agree. Has there been an outbreak of mosquito-borne diseases in our city? I haven’t heard of any. Killing mosquitos with poison will also kill the birds which are the natural enemy of the mosquitos – and down the chain of death to the cats that eat the birds that eat the mosquitos.
      Surely there are sprays that are not poisonous. And other ways – like draining all the puddled waters in the parks and streets, introducing the predators of mosquitos into our parklands – birds and other insects that feed on mosquitos and mosquitos larvae.

    18. UWSmama says:

      From Newsweek article “Fighting West Nile Virus Shouldn’t Mean Poisoning People”:

      This is the question of risk-benefit analysis… What’s the balance of one or two people dying form West Nile versus half a million people, being exposed to low levels of a chemical that may or may not cause endocrine disruption in their body?

      The risk of contracting West Nile is low. Moreover, people can independently take precautions – window screens, covered clothing, repellant (natural or otherwise), avoiding dusk. The risk of spraying to the population, especially certain segments, is worrisome and forced upon us, and the effects will take years to become evident, given the policy of spray now (look like we are taking action!) and let someone else deal with the fallout.

    19. B flat says:

      Reducing the threat of West Nile is the priority to me, but there’s also good reason to be aware of potential Anvil toxicity and take precautions. The devil is in the details:

    20. UWS Dad says:

      I for one am very pleased about this. The mosquitoes on St Gregory’s Playground and Playground LXXXIX have been merrily eating me and my kids all summer.

    21. Rhonda Waggoner says:

      I can taste the spray, but less today. Mopped terrace – sudsy and I’m high up, Use lemon eucalyptus for skeeters (comparable to DEET) and rose geranium for ticks.