Use of Insecticides for Mosquito Control Barred in Midwestern Wildlife Refuges
According to national
wildlife refuge managers, requests to treat wildlife refuges in the Midwest
to control mosquitoes will be denied in order to preserve the biological
integrity of the lands, except in cases of imminent threats to human health.
"Mosquitoes may be an annoyance, particularly in wet years. But they
are a part of the natural environment and a food source for a variety
of other animals," said Jim Leach, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
refuge supervisor who oversees National Wildlife Refuge activities in
Indiana, Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin. "More importantly, the insecticides
currently used to control mosquitoes can have a devastating impact on
other insects, particularly aquatic insects, which are utilized by fish,
amphibians and aquatic birds like ducklings as important food sources."
policies do not allow the use of mosquito treatments on refuge lands except
in cases involving threats to human health, such as the transmission of
a mosquito borne illness. Refuge managers do cooperate with local mosquito
control authorities to monitor mosquito populations on refuge lands.
Managers also take
on the annual chore of removing old tires, barrels and other debris deposited
on refuge lands by high spring water levels and runoff from adjacent private
lands. Such debris may serve as artificial breeding sites for certain
mosquito species, many of which are potential carriers of human diseases
such as malaria and West Nile virus.
Homeowners need to
follow suit and remove all potential mosquito breeding sites from their
property. Even a water-filled bottle cap can become a mosquito breeding
site. People should drain and remove all containers holding collected
rainwater such as cans, buckets, garbage cans and lids, potted plant containers
and old tires, as well as turn over unused wading pools. It is also a
good idea to change the water in containers for birds, pets and other
wildlife every four days, and clean rain gutters.