Should Helicopters Spray for Mosquitos in Marin?

This week the Marin – Sonoma Mosquito and Vector Control District will use a helicopter to spray mosquito larvae in San Rafael and Novato.


Some Marin residents are abuzz over plans to spray mosquito larvae in San Rafael and Novato.

The Marin – Sonoma Mosquito and Vector Control District will use a helicopter on Wednesday or Thursday to fog for mosquito larvae at McInnis Park in San Rafael and Deer Island Basin in Novato, according to a report in the Marin Independent Journal.

An interactive map on the Marin – Sonoma Mosquito and Vector Control District website (see a screenshot of the map above) also showed fogging scheduled for part of Hamilton in Novato on Jan. 30. 

According to the district’s map, the materials to be applied include Vectobac 12AS and Altosid Liquid Larvicide. According to the IJ, the larvicide includes naturally occurring bacteria Bti (Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis) and methoprene, which regulates insect growth. 

Fairfax resident Frank Egger, a member of the district board, told the IJ that the board hadn’t voted on the spraying and he first learned of the spraying after getting a notice from the district Tuesday afternoon. 

Officials said mosquito larvae have been developing faster than in recent years and the targeted species are highly aggressive biters with long flight range, according to the IJ.


Do you support the district eliminating mosquito larvae? Are you worried about the spraying? Tell us in the comments!


Beth Stein January 30, 2013 at 10:34 PM
Yes kill all those nasty larvae!! Why bellyache. It is critical to people and animals to get rid of Mosquitos that carry diseases and keep all indoors
Craig Belfor January 31, 2013 at 02:03 AM
The biggest killer of man on earth is malaria, spread by mosquitos. In the early parts of the last century, Novato was a big cloud of mosquitos until the agencies in San Francisco spread oil on the brackish marshes that harbored them. This new chemical is safer than a big mac.
Ventress Dugan January 31, 2013 at 02:07 AM
I will not be any of the areas or downwind of this proceedure. Do we even know what they are spraying? I know the Moscuito Abatement people are very hard working and diligent....I would just like to know.
Ventress Dugan January 31, 2013 at 02:10 AM
I hate to say that Big Mac 's are poison. Just saying!
Annie January 31, 2013 at 03:10 AM
It's important to have mosquito abatement, as they are carriers of many diseases, not just malaria. However, it's important to know what they are spraying. Growing up in the midwest, I remember the "mosquito truck" coming down our street, spraying away. Many years later, we learned it was DDT, a chemical long banned. Scary!
Roni Yarnot-Krajeski January 31, 2013 at 04:00 AM
I remember a couple of years ago when they didn't spray, and the mosquitos were horrible. Considering the disease potential, not to mention the aggravation, I say yes. And from what I know about BTi, it's relatively benign.
Steve B January 31, 2013 at 02:49 PM
They should blast "Night of the Valkyries" so we remember to close our windows and not just gawk at the low-flying choppers
Craig Belfor January 31, 2013 at 02:49 PM
It's the volume-quantity problem for me.
MSMVCD January 31, 2013 at 05:29 PM
Ventress, Thank you for the compliment! The materials we used were Bti (Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis), a naturally occurring bacteria, and methoprene, an insect growth regulator. These materials are what we call larvicides and are used to control the immature stages of the mosquitoe (larvae). The materials were applied directly to the targeted water sources where the mosquito larvae was present. You can find more information about the materials we use on our website at www.msmsoquito.com or call us a call at 1.800.231.3236. Thank you again for your support.
J D Harris January 31, 2013 at 06:35 PM
Unfortunately, such spraying is necessary. I live in the vicinity of McInnis Park and prefer not to be eaten alive by mosquitos. More notice of the spraying would have been nice, though. I've since discovered that you can sign up for email and phone notification of upcoming spraying activity via the MSMVCD website. The staff at the district were very courteous & knowledgable on the phone when I called to inquire on Wednesday.
drustrange January 31, 2013 at 06:52 PM
Methoprene is toxic to amphibians, such as frogs, toads, and salamanders, as well as to fish. I suppose one could make the case that we should kill all of these creatures in order to prevent the spread of West Nile Virus. It is also highly acutely toxic to estuarine and marine invertebrates. It can persist on plants that are oversprayed for up to three weeks. My info is from the University of Cornell website, http://pmep.cce.cornell.edu/profiles/extoxnet/haloxyfop-methylparathion/methoprene-ext.html
Marilyn January 31, 2013 at 07:33 PM
Why is it that the public does not get to vote about if they want chemicals being sprayed into the air we breathe? This is the ONLY notice I have gotten...not really a notice and today is Thursday. Were we exposed yesterday as we played outside??? For people with certain health issues this should be highly advertised before doing. Who gives someone else the right to put chemicals into the air we breathe? I highly doubt it is not toxic.
stephen schwindt January 31, 2013 at 10:15 PM
Spray, spray, spray. Just read the Cornell article. Methoprene becomes toxic at levels of concentration far greater than that used for mosquito abatement.
Jeffrey Gimzek February 01, 2013 at 02:41 AM
I was in NYC when all the West Nile blanket spraying was done. The run-off killed all the lobsters in the Long Island Sound, and destroyed the lobster industry completely. Still, mosquitos need to be controlled. Narrowly targeted sprays may be the only way.
Kim February 01, 2013 at 07:31 AM
I agree, some notice and info prior would be nice. I am generally not for spraying ANY chemicals in the air. Is this the only solution or perhaps there is another way to deal with the problem? Just curious.
Craig Belfor February 01, 2013 at 06:50 PM
I hate mosquitos more than I love lobster. It's a fair trade. By the way, everything is toxic at some level, so while you're adjusting the tin foil hat and driving your car to the anti smart meter rally, remember we alter the ecosystem just by eating.
Frank Egger February 02, 2013 at 04:05 PM
The question is how safe are the chemicals? According to the Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS), Vectobac 12As is 11.61% Bti and 88.39% other (inert). Altosid A.L.L. SR20 is 20% Methoprene and 80% other (inert). When one asks what are the other (inert) ingredients, both the EPA and chemical manufacturers say they are Trade Secrets. Trade Secrets? We have a right to know what we are spraying and what we are being sprayed with.
J. Lee February 03, 2013 at 06:29 AM
anyone remember the unannounced, secret spraying 3 years back for supposed Light Apple Brown Moth irradiation that began in Monterey and Santa Cruz counties where so many got asthma it overwhelmed the medical clinics with plans secret plans to spray the whole Bay Area. This is a very disturbing trend. Who are these people who decide to spray 'trade secret' chemicals over our heads, upon our children with chemicals that induce growth disruption. And the representatives on the board that are supposed to be looking out for their constituents are not even informed of the spraying and then being told that it has happened previously??? Also, if you look at the Marin Sonoma Mosquito Vector Control website 5/7 tax dollars collected go to salaries and pensions!! Do you trust our government and the EPA? I don't for minute, nor should you. Demand accountability. Wake up Marin!
Elvis February 06, 2013 at 05:46 AM
the lobsters dying was a simple analogy. Most crustaceans and invertebrates are in peril when methoprene is used not to mention amphibians. I don't think it's a fair trade to damage an entire ecosystem because of human discomfort..
Elvis February 06, 2013 at 05:50 AM
Bti is rather benign except to the larva that eat it. Methoprene however should not be sprayed anywhere. It is believed to be the cause of 3 legged frogs. Why can't we get a say when chemicals that can harm more than just mosquitos are sprayed ? just sayin' "not cool".
Yvette Wakefield February 12, 2013 at 02:19 AM
Spraying to solve an immediate problem doesn't help if the long-term effect is harmful. We don't need any more poison in our environment.


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