EEE aerial spraying concerns many Michigan residents

The EEE virus is a serious disease that has many people worried in Western Michigan. The disease is spread by infected mosquitoes that can cause inflammation to the brain. Symptoms may include high fever, headache, tiredness, nausea or vomiting and stiff neck. If any symptoms are present, it is urged by the health department to seek a doctor. So far 10 residents have been diagnosed in Barry, Kalamazoo, Berrien, Calhoun, Van Buren and Cass counties. Five have died from the triple E virus in Cass, Kalamazoo, Van Buren and Calhoun counties. Many animals have died as well from this disease, especially horses and dogs.

Aerial treatments were scheduled for many western counties in Michigan. Aerial treatment is when planes spray larvicide and adulticide to large areas. Larvicide kills off mosquito larvae within a few days, and adulticide will kill off adult mosquitoes almost instantly. 

Many aerial sprayings were postponed in Michigan due to the weather. And are rescheduled for October 7. But, many still worry about the effects of the spraying. 

Many residents went on to social media to express their concerns about the spraying. Many are concerned that the bees will also be killed off with the mosquitoes in these areas. But the spraying is to happen at night when the bees are in their hives while the mosquitos are most active.  

Marine Corps photo by Keith Hayes, courtesy of CDC’s James Gathany

Many residents voiced concerns on Facebook for some bird species whose diet mostly consists of mosquitos. Fish ponds have also been questioned by many residents and advised by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to cover the night of spraying.

Beekeepers are not too fond of the aerial spraying. In Elkhart county, many of the beekeepers are taking precautions for their bees. Mitchels Honey company, in Indiana, is one to take these precautions with their bees. This means they would have to move the bees from where the spraying is happening to a safe spot for bees. The chemical that’s being used is to be said by the Indiana Department of Health that it can kill bees almost instantly. 

Many beekeepers in Michigan are doing the same and moving their bees. This is their job and how they get income to survive. A beehive can cost up to $200 and on a farm with about 100 beehives that can be $20,000 worth of damage. That can really slow down one’s income. If there was no warning of the spraying, many bees would have been killed and would not have time to reproduce themselves. 

On Facebook, many are outraged about spraying. Merus 3.0 is the insecticide that is being used during the spraying. Caroline Deloca commented on a picture straight from the merus 3.0 site. The picture gave environmental Hazards from using the insecticide. In the beginning, it says that the insecticide ¨is toxic to aquatic organisms, including fish and aquatic invertebrates.” This supports the resident’s concerns. The label also mentions to not spray over large areas of water. The map that shows were they are spraying includes lakes and rivers. 

The site that has the label also states: ¨this product is highly toxic to bees exposed to direct treatment on blooming crops and weeds. The bees most likely were highly affected by spraying.” 

The aerial spraying is to decrease the chances of the EEE virus in Michigan residents. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services still do advise residents to wear bug spray with DEET in it. They also recommend wearing long sleeves and pants to cover the body and limit a mosquito bite. Also, to stay inside after seven since that is when mosquitos come out.

Mariah Harney

Mariah Harney

Hey! my name is Mariah Harney I am a sophomore at Gull Lake High School. This is my first year being apart of the Reflection staff, and I couldn't be more excited! I love sharing my thoughts on environmental issues. outside of school, I love to play soccer and basketball. I also have a pretty creative side to me from writing to painting.

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