In response to your Sept. 20 article about EEE ("DPH reports second Mass. EEE death"), I agree that the risk is serious. We need to be aware of it and take precautions. However, the risks of spraying, while less immediate and harder to see, are ALSO EXTREMELY serious.
Are you old enough to remember squashed bugs on car windshields after a summer evening drive? clouds of moths around the back door at night? bird choruses so loud in the spring dawn that you closed your window to get some sleep? According to many sources, including a National Geographic article from Feb. 2019, more than 40% of insect species are rapidly declining in numbers. Total biomass of insects is down as much as 75% in one 27-year study in a protected area in Germany.
Australian scientist Sanchez-Bayo says, "If we don't stop it, entire ecosystems will collapse due to starvation." "No insects equals no food, which equals no people," says Dino Martins, in the same National Geographic article. Insects serve as the base of the food web, eaten by everything from birds and small mammals to amphibians and fish. If insects decline, everything else will, too.
Everything in the natural world is important. Religious people may believe that God created everything for a purpose and scientists know that every species now alive is the result of millions of years of evolution. Animals and plants are not here for our pleasure or whim, but have survived because each one has an essential place in the web of life.
When we use toxic sprays for EEE, we are protecting ourselves from the short-term risk of disease, but at the same time, we are permanently harming our own environment. As much as we are annoyed or made sick by insects, we should remember that when we destroy them we are adding to the long-term risk of environmental catastrophe. We do not know how to measure the exact risk from each pesticide use, but the cumulative effect is clear.
We must encourage our towns and state to be more cautious in spraying for mosquitoes. I fear that recent spraying may be the reason that I now hear fewer katydids on my walks around the neighborhood in the early evenings. (I'm glad I still hear crickets!) In addition, I encourage you to transition your lawn and garden to eliminate pesticides and herbicides, to buy organic when you can, and to consider how else you can help to preserve the environment of our shared world.