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Mosquito fogging scheduled for tomorrow night

Original post made on Aug 18, 2014

The Santa Clara County Vector Control is scheduled to spray portions of Mountain View and Sunnyvale tomorrow night with a mosquito-control pesticide in an attempt to curb the spread of the West Nile virus. The "fogging" is set to take place Tuesday (Aug. 19) from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, August 18, 2014, 11:36 AM

Comments (23)

Posted by information
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Aug 18, 2014 at 12:32 pm

Perhaps useful: Official homepage of SCC vector control:
Web Link

They have links to maps, including for the particular fogging area mentioned in this article:
Web Link

Posted by ckaten
a resident of North Whisman
on Aug 18, 2014 at 2:55 pm

This mosquito spraying is horrible and toxic. The chemical they use has been proven in studies only to kill certain stages of the lifecycle, and they way they spray it does not cover everything anyway, making it ineffective. I'd rather take my chances with getting sick than be guaranteed to be poisoned from the spray. Our animals and wild life are at risk as well.

Posted by Cat
a resident of Shoreline West
on Aug 18, 2014 at 3:05 pm

I live in 94040 zip code. My area is not shown on map for fogging when I went to weblink, but zip code 94040 mentioned in article.

Posted by Kevin
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Aug 18, 2014 at 3:13 pm

Cat, the only part of Mountain View 94040 that's in the fogging reach is the small triangle south of El Camino Real and east of Highway 85.

Posted by JP
a resident of Gemello
on Aug 18, 2014 at 3:17 pm

I was told I needed to do my research before I cried Chicken Little and said the sky was falling. I _have_ done my research and I agree with the other post. This spraying is very toxic to our wildlife and is very dangerous for infants, pregnant women, and the elderly. The city needs to stop saying it's completely safe and better inform people of the possible risks and how to protect themselves.

Posted by Martin Omander
a resident of Rex Manor
on Aug 18, 2014 at 5:25 pm

JP, ckaten, I don't know anything about this chemical, but you seem very concerned and you say you have read up about it. Perhaps you could provide some links to reputable studies about the harmful effects?

Posted by Some of us actually do our homework
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 18, 2014 at 6:11 pm

Martin: As you may realize already, asking those people for more rationalizations is really beside the point. "Studies" are beside the point.

What this is really about is people who start with anxiety over something they know little about, then seek supporting rhetoric to help rationalize their anxiety.

Anyone seriously interested enough in this matter to've done basic, unbiased homework (i.e., letting the data shape your opinions, not the reverse, which is the norm on forums like this one) knows already that:

The pyrethroids used in this and related fogging programs are synthetic versions of the natural anti-insect agents produced constantly by Chrysanthemum ("pyrethrum") flowers. These agents' toxicity is extremely selective to insects; they also decompose quickly on exposure to the environment; and they're deliberately applied in hours when mosquitos are airborne (and bees, for example, are not). That background information has been publicly available, for decades, to anyone who bothers to look. If you are anxious over this type of fogging you should REALLY be anxious over Chrysanthemum plants.

Further, in real human or other mammalian toxicity terms, humans receive a much greater toxin burden from the stimulants in a sip of tea or Coke™ than if they breathed in raw fogger mist (which no one would do anyway).

But is this basic information part of the background of the local anxious? Is it what they want to hear?? Of course not. They seize on their beloved demon term "pesticide," and all thinking stops. Replaced by jealously cherished anxieties and indignations.
The elastic term "toxic" (applicable even to pure water, given a perverse enough spin) is deployed as if it were some yes-no attribute -- again, basic misconception.

I feel for the responsible authorities who must make these real-world tradeoff decisions (which are NEVER simple, and NEVER without costs, no matter how resolved). They recognize uninformed anxieties as such. It may never be possible to satisfy all complainants, but it is possible to ignore them -- as long as their core message flows fundamentally from uninformed fear (rationalized by rhetoric skimmed from Google searches).

Posted by PeaceLove
a resident of Shoreline West
on Aug 18, 2014 at 6:32 pm

The correct product name is Zenivex. Here is the materials data safety sheet: Web Link

It has no "acute" toxicity but it can cause skin and eye irritation and requires serious safety equipment to use properly. It seems to be less toxic to humans than many other insecticides but to say (as the MV Voice does, without citing any source) that it "is not toxic to humans or pets" is quite a stretch and reeks of a press release rather than actual journalism.

Fresh water is not toxic to humans or pets. Zenivex, on the other hand, should probably be avoided if at all possible.

Posted by Sunny
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 19, 2014 at 7:25 am

What is the best?? West Nike Virus or chemical?
Anyway, If the city does not act, some people will blame the city and when this one does something to stoo the west Nile virus with chemical it is not good..I am sure if someone has another healthy solution the city will listen and will act for the residents's interest...

Posted by @Some of us actually do our homework
a resident of Rex Manor
on Aug 19, 2014 at 8:45 am

I believe you and I have had exchanges on a previous Voice article on this topic. Please stop dismissing others concerns like you are a know-it-all God. It's incredibly insulting, not warranted at all and really doesn't help further the discussion (and education as you would say) that is needed.

I am not an expert in this area, but I have legitimate concerns about the safety of what is being sprayed, and I question if really necessary. 80% of people infected with West Nile get no symptoms. 20% get flu like symptoms that resolve themselves without intervention. Only 1%, 1%! actually require medical intervention! So the county has decided to spray entire communities with this stuff to protect a very small number of people. That may be the right decision, but I have every right to question that decision and I believe the county has the responsibility to reach out to the community and justify their decision. Not just by posting info somewhere but by attending community meetings, answering questions and explaining the trade-offs so we understand. I cannot opt out of spraying if I wanted to since it's applied to an entire area.

Don't dismiss my concern by saying, "I haven't done my homework."

We should have conversations as a community about the positives and negatives of our decision to spray such a vast area when 1) the effectiveness of doing so is not really clear, (and such spraying has to happen several times to take effect) and 2) the risks to humans, especially babies and pregnant women is also in question, also risk to bees and other wildlife are in question. I certainly have the right to question if there are other ways we could handle this besides spraying.

Here is one of the many articles I have read. Yes, there are articles that say this stuff is completely safe as well, but my point is that it is unclear enough that the community deserves a conversation about it, not simply having our concerns swept under the rug and being insulted like we are idiots.

Web Link

From the article:
But based on her study, she said pregnant women should be aware that some of the chemicals found in commercial pesticides, like pyrethroids, are also sold for use around the home.

Even worse, they're sometimes labeled as "all natural" products, because they're based on a chemical that comes from chrysanthemum flowers. But Hertz-Picciotto says there's nothing natural about them.

"It's a synthetic product that's been designed to be more toxic than the natural product it's imitating," she said.

Hertz-Picciotto recommends that pregnant women with insect problems play it safe by looking for less toxic alternatives, like a powder called diatomaceous earth, which kills insects by dehydrating them.

Posted by Susan
a resident of Castro City
on Aug 19, 2014 at 10:07 am

Thanks Homework!
The most hazard is during the mixing and loading phase of the equipment. The operators are suitable attired to keep them safe. The dilution of this life-cycle interrupter is so minute that there is virtually no risk to anything but mosquitos between 11 pm and 2 in the morning. Bees are the primary concern and they are all safely tucked away for the night. I will be glad for the tradeoff of successfully-documented fogging versus unpredictable disease-carrying mosquitos breeding with abandon. Don't take a walk between 11 and 2 and you will be fine. Pets and plants are not affected by such a miniscule amount of material.

What homeowners CAN do to minimize the risk of mosquitos breeding in their neighborhoods is to monitor standing water, scummy ponds and anything bigger than a bottle cap where the little critters can breed. If your neighborhood does not have enough of the monitored populations they will not need to fog. Individuals can help the situation. WNV is here! Being proactive pays off.

Posted by Concerned Parking Cone
a resident of Castro City
on Aug 19, 2014 at 11:01 am

Can anyone tell me when "mosquito season" ends? When it starts raining?

Posted by Susan
a resident of Castro City
on Aug 19, 2014 at 2:41 pm

Parking Cone, Mosquitos become active during warm weather and stop when the weather gets cool. We had an unusually warm Spring and no signs of any cooling off now. The little critters are active at night but there is also the possibility of a new type arriving in the area that is also active during the day. Oh goodie! Both types can carry WNV.

Removing standing water really helps. I once found a hubcap under a hedge that received irrigation overspray and was LOADED with the little wigglers. If you find any just dump on a dry surface and they will dry and die.

Posted by dc
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Aug 19, 2014 at 11:11 pm

Fogging is done when infected dead birds are found, 700 so far. So yes only a few people may have been infected but if the population of mosquito are not controlled then the 1% of humans ill will grow from 5 to 1% of 50,000.
PS trucks only put out 1.5 fluid ounces per acre, not enough to affect honeybees or dragonflies, much less larger mammals like us.

Posted by Jean
a resident of another community
on Aug 20, 2014 at 3:06 pm

When the insects are all killed the swallows and bat's food is gone and possibly food for some other birds, frogs and salamanders.All of those animals are deprived of their food and die out. So, the commercial companies have no competition. and the vector control people wont have is not in their interest to let nature take over. I read that bats can eat thousands of mosquitoes/night. I think we are paying vector control to do the wrong thing. they should be raising bats.

Posted by Hmm
a resident of Monta Loma
on Aug 20, 2014 at 3:08 pm

"As you may realize already, asking those people for more rationalizations is really beside the point. "Studies" are beside the point."

Just the very first statement shows how much of an idiot this person really is. Someone who talks big, but shows no proof, same with susan and dc.

All you people who are gung ho for it, where is your proof? In the 80s we had Malathion sprayed everywhere and today we have a bunch of children with autism, bipolar, and etc... and we wonder why. Do we really know the effects that spraying does in the long term? Show us the links. I see the anti-spray peoples links and they make good sense.

Personally i don't want chemicals sprayed at nights when windows are down.

Another thing is accidents do happen, what if the person putting in the concentrates uses the wrong one, or some mix up happens and something deadly gets up in. NO thank you to spraying of anything.

Posted by Some of us actually do our homework
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 20, 2014 at 6:18 pm

I was responding to posted comments here such as ckaten's "This mosquito spraying is horrible and toxic. . . Our animals and wild life are at risk" In the past I have responded to comments like "Time after time, these new pesticides are proven unsafe for humans. . ."

["NEW" ?!? New to whom? Have you ANY idea how long pyrethroids have been in use? If not, why on earth are you commenting about it?? Just one example of the factual carelessness and anxiety-driven rhetoric I object to here. I have one book from the 1890s -- EIGHTEEN nineties -- discussing pyrethroids' ins and outs. In those days, they were obtained directly from natural sources (pyrethrum flowers) and were expensive, but were considered the gold standard for insect control because their toxicity was so selective to insects, and not to "animals and wild life."]

In effect, comments like those I responded to, which _start_ from misinformation and take no responsibility for it, proclaim "I don't know anything about this subject, but I am fearful. THEREFORE, the fogging is bad. I think it should stop."
That is no basis for rational policy discussions.

I am not a pesticides expert, but at least I have studied some of the basics, the context, of this situation. Where pyrethroids come from, how they are used, how they differ from other pesticides. The stuff you WON'T see if just you go looking for Google hits to buttress your existing opinion (which is all that some people can ever imagine doing). Thanks to Google, thousands of "references" are now available to support any notion what-so-ever, at the cost of a few clicks.

If you find it "insulting" for naïve superstitious misinformation, such as I quoted above, to be pointed out as such, then STOP POSTING IT.

Posted by MD
a resident of Shoreline West
on Aug 20, 2014 at 7:29 pm

Google has lots of miss information along with the good. People still think we never landed on the moon. At least with the CA state site you know where their logic and data is from. Any one can post mercury, lead or asbestos as a problem but they are all natural and in low levels perfectly fine did you know excessive H2O will cause death in humans. .

Web Link

Posted by Cat
a resident of Shoreline West
on Aug 21, 2014 at 3:35 pm

Thanks Kevin, just read your response.

Posted by DC
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Aug 23, 2014 at 7:37 pm

It is all out there but I left you doubter to look up the information yourself
so YOU can choose the web sites.

700 birds Web Link
CA spray reasoning Web Link
Mosquito growth 2= 300 300 = 45,000 in 20 days. that's just simple math
Spray chemical composition Web Link

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