Category Archives: Pesticides

Bee protests are cute, but…

[youtube][/youtube]A recent protest by organic activists outside a Chicago Home Depot highlighted the current debate over pesticides and bees.  It also reminded me that no one wants to go on record as being “against the bees”.  Check out the video above. Let’s face it.  Despite their sometimes dangerous side, bees rank relatively high on most people’s list of favorite insects. After all, bees are a sure sign of spring (much needed this year).  And they make honey for goodness sake. And, as the beekeeping industry keeps reminding us,… Read More →

Care with bed bug insecticide

With the growing incidence of bed bugs being found in homes and apartments, the potential for pesticide misuse is up. Evidence of the potential for harm came out last week in a report from the Centers for Disease Control’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (By the way, I’m absolutely sure that with its current title this periodical will never make’s Best Sellers in Magazines List). The study reports on acute illnesses associated with dichlorvos is the active ingredient in no-pest strips.  If you’ve been around awhile like me, you… Read More →

Honey bees at center of controversy

What could present a more peaceful, bucolic image than the scene of beekeepers tending their bee hives? Beekeepers are traditionally seen as the gentlest of agriculturalists, not killing for food but merely reaping the labor of an industrious insect in exchange for nurture and protection.  Yet there is little peaceful about the verbal and political battle swirling about beekeepers and honey bees at the moment. You may have seen the headlines in recent years proclaiming the doom of the honey bee.  The domestic bee industry in the U.S…. Read More →

Dallas gardeners perceive mixed impacts of mosquito spraying

For us who lived through the summer of 2012 in north Texas, this year might well be remembered as the “Year of the Mosquito”.  A perfect storm of weather and ecological conditions conspired this year to make it the worst year ever for West Nile virus transmission in Texas, and the second-worst year nationwide.  There were more WNV cases this summer in Dallas County (388) than any previous year (the previous worst year was 104 cases in 2006). On the other hand, for many residents of Dallas and surrounding… Read More →

Seeking your feedback on aerial spray impacts

Do you live in the aerial spray zone in Dallas County?  If so, a survey form has been developed to get your feedback on the impact of aerial spraying on the wildlife in your back yard. We are asking only those people in the AERIAL spray zone to participate in the survey (Please do not complete the survey if your neighborhood received only ground applications for mosquito control–we’re focusing only on aerial treatment zones).  Here’s how it works. You can use this Dallas County Aerial Mosquito Spraying Daily Data… Read More →

FAQs about aerial spraying for West Nile virus mosquitoes

In the summer of 2012 aerial mosquito spraying services were offered to Dallas area communities.  The decision was made in response to the threat of record numbers of West Nile virus (WNV) cases in the north Texas area in that year.  As with any important decision, there were differing opinions on what should be done to battle mosquito borne disease outbreaks.  Because of concerns about aerial applications of insecticides over urban areas, I thought it might be useful to address some of the common questions from a science, applied entomology and… Read More →

West Nile Virus: Sooner than Later

The tiny buzz bombers are back. Mosquitoes are in full swing in Texas and are bringing the West Nile Virus with them. One of the first signs of the virus this year occurred in Plano, Texas (zip code 75074, northeast of the cross-section of SH-75 and President George Bush Turnpike). According to Scott Andrews of the City of Plano Environmental Health Department, “The confirmation came last Monday (June 19th) from samples we trapped and sent to the State Health Department. We sprayed the area for mosquitoes last Friday night… Read More →

Pesticides and pests in Texas schools

A recent bill introduced into the Texas State Senate would do away with regulations passed 20 years ago to restrict pesticide use and improve the standard for pest control in public schools.  The bill, introduced under the premise that it would reduce costs to school districts, got its first public hearing this week.  A story published this week in the Texas Tribune summarizes the issue. If you’ve never given much thought to pest control as it relates to your children’s school, you’re not alone.  Most of us take… Read More →

It ain’t easy being green

A news item caught my eye today.  In the story from Science Daily, University of Guelph researchers Rebecca Hallett and Christine Bahlai compared the effectiveness and environmental impact of organic pesticides to those of conventional and novel reduced-risk synthetic products on soybean crops.  The result?  The two organic pesticides had a greater overall impact on the environment, including unintended mortality of beneficial insects. The point of the research is not to try to say organic pesticides are always inferior, or to strike a blow for conventional pesticides, but… Read More →