Stalking the mosquito hotel!!
We had a great education and lots of fun with Trudy, the mosquito lady, who is a super mozzi detective.
She combed all 4 hectare with her jars of water, a mini siphon to suck up samples of water, a moz zapper for protection, net & scissors & duct tape and most important – her expertise on where the little mozzies hang out, dance, breed, lay eggs and expand their reach.
She taught us that mosquitoes:
- grow from larva to adult in about 7-10 days,
- live about a month,
- will travel 100 meters to feast
- love to live in some of our most beautiful and decorative plants.
More on that later and how we control them in a completely preventative chemical-free way.
Let’s talk about mosquitoes, Dengue fever, Malaria
Through out Bali and all over the world, there are mosquitoes (nyamuk – here in Bali). There are bizillion species and whether they’re aedes aegypti, chickingunya, culicidae, or dipteral, they suck blood and spread illness.
Let’s talk: chemicals typically used to control mosquitoes: Malathion and other pyrethrums.
Notes on the chemicals, taken from Wikepedia:
Malathion – an organophosphate often used to treat crops against a wide array of insects. It can be sprayed directly onto vegetation, such as the bushes where mosquitoes like to rest, or used in a 5 percent solution to fog the yard. In the small amounts used for mosquito control, it poses no threat to humans or wildlife. In fact, malathion is also used to kill head lice.
Permethrin – one of a group of chemicals called pyrethroids, it is a synthetic form of a natural insecticide found in chrysanthemum flowers. It usually is mixed with oil or water and applied as a mist, about 1/100th of a pound per acre. Like malathion, permethrin kills mosquitoes by disrupting their central nervous systems. Not harmful to people and animals in small amounts, but it is toxic to fish and bees.
Both malathion and permethrin are also available in sprays for use inside the home.
The insecticides will work for several days when applied to shrubbery or grass, but will break down over time, especially in rain. When released into the air through fog or mist, they usually are good only for a few hours before they become too dissipated to be effective.
Let’s talk: human safety
Current Universities in California and Virginia indicate Malathion effects include weakening of the immune system, neurological damage, reproductive disorders, harm to second generation offspring and mutations/genetic damage to DNA, and may or may not be a carcinogen. It has been widely used to eradicate the Mediterranean Fruit Fly and West Nile Virus.
According to United States regulatory reviews from 2006, “Malathion can be used for public health mosquito control programs without posing unreasonable risks to the general population when applied according to the label.”
If we have the choice for an easy alternative . . . doesn’t it seem obvious it’s better to Not use chemicals . . . hello????
Let’s talk: conclusion and our New Earth commitment at Bali Silent Retreat
Although we are grateful to have sophisticated chemical choices for extreme situations, Bali Silent Retreat holds a standard of Green to the Extreme and chemicals are NOT a choice.
Trudy, mosquito lady, comes on scene spring 2015.
(Trudy Rilling-Collins firstname.lastname@example.org)
She found and we fixed:
- The traveler palms and heliconia filled with larvae, their beautiful stems serving as nice big pockets for about 2 cups of water, making nice safe mosquito hotels for thousands of potential little blood suckers. These all got filled with sand . . . no more moz-making baby incubators there.
- The air vents on our septic tanks got covered in nets.
- Our worm farm (basically worm pee) got wrapped and covered so no external visitors could join. (It had little drain holes that just welcomed the mozzies with the essence of welcoming scents.)
- Bufy’s swimming pool needed got an ‘in and out’ water supply.
- The lid on our liquid compost got netted down.
- The old bamboo stand of harvested sticks in the jungle got another haircut such that they weren’t holding water.
And generally we tidied up. Keeping a clean house is part of a person’s commitment to health and wholeness and to the future of our planet. We thinking living it; walking our talk, is the best way to do that.
Trudy gave us gold stars for the mosquito fish in all our ponds, the citronella surrounding many of the buildings and yoga octagon (we need to beat it before each class, to release the lemon scent), and especially for our wonderful and magical dragonflies that descend at dusk.