This is a Lepi group, Not for political bantar

Paul Cherubini cherubini at
Mon Aug 7 12:39:42 EDT 2000

Ok, lets get onto a more lep related topics like the effects of
mosquito spraying on non-target organisms such as butterflies
and moths in the USA. Is there any scientific evidence, for example,
to support the NABA website claim of "disasterous" non-target impacts
from  spraying Malathion or pyrethroid insecticides over New York City?

I received the following email today from a Ph.D. entomologist that
works for a Mosquito abatement control district:

Dear Mr. Cherubini. A friend of mine forwarded to me your request for
research about the effects of mosquito spraying on non-target organisms. I
suggest that you get the following paper.

Effects of Ultra-Low Volume Pyrethrin, Malathion and Permethrin on
Non-target Invertebrates, Sentinel Mosquitoes, and Mosquitofish in
Seasonally Impounded Wetlands. Truls Jensen, Sharon P. Lawler and Deborah A.
Dritz. 1999. Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association. 15(3):

Dr. Jensen may be contacted at Illinois Natural History Survey, Medical
Entomology Program, 607 E. Peabody Drive, Champaign, IL 61820.

The abstract for the paper reads: Wildlife managers are concerned that
insecticides used to control mosquitoes could suppress invertebrates on
which wildlife feed. We assessed whether ultra-low volume (ULV) applications
of pyrethrin, permethrin, and malathion for control of adult mosquitoes
reduced macroinvetebrate abundance and biomass or killed mosquitofish in
seasonal wetlands in California. Pyrethrin was applied over three seasonal
wetlands on Sutter National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), and malathion or
permethrin were each applied over two seasonal wetlands on the Colusa NWR.
Three control wetlands were used per site. We measured aquatic
macroinvertebrate abundance and biomass before and after insecticide
application and compared survival of mosquito larvae held in sentinel cages.
At Colusa, we also used mosquitofish as sentinels, caged adult mosquitoes
over the wetlands to test for pesticide efficacy and drift, and sampled
night-flying insects using ultraviolet light traps. Results showed no
detectable reductions in the abundance or biomass of aquatic
macroinvertebrates in treated wetlands. Larval mosquitoes showed high
survival in all areas. All adult mosquitoes died when caged over wetlands
treated with malathion and permethrin, but all survived in controls. All
mosquitofish survived. Flying insects abundance decreased after insecticide
application in both treated and control wetlands but rebounded in 48 hours.
Results indicated that ULV applications of these insecticides to control
adult mosquitoes are unlikely to have substantial effects upon the aquatic
insects or fish in seasonal wetlands.

These results are significant for several reasons. First, fish are extremely
sensitive to pyrethroid insecticides (including permethrin and resmethrin).
Mosquitofish were not affected in the above study. Permethrin is more
persistent in the field than resmethrin strongly suggesting that resmethrin
will have an ever lower effect than permethrin simply because resmethrin
degrades faster and loses its pesticidal activity. Second, non-target
insects as a group were not significantly affected. You will note that
suppression occurred in both treated and control wetlands after insecticide
application which suggests that something other than the insecticide reduced
insect activity. Most important is the rebound seen 48 hours after pesticide

Pesticide applications for controlling adult mosquitoes are normally made at
night when most beneficial insects (honeybees, lady bird beetles, etc.) are
not active. The labels of mosquito control pesticides include specific
instructions designed to minimize contact between the pesticide and
non-target insects. Thus, when applied according to label instructions (as
in the above study), pesticides for mosquito control should not
significantly affect non-target organisms.

I hope this information is useful. Please contact Dr. Jensen directly if you
have more questions about the study.

With best regards,

Stephen Manweiler, Ph. D.
Metropolitan Mosquito Control District
2099 University Avenue West
St. Paul, MN 55104
phone: 651-645-9149
FAX: 651-645-3246
e-mail: mmcd_sam at

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