Organic Activists Endanger Your Health: Mosquitos Need To Be Controlled

Commentary, Environment, Frontier Centre

Are organic activists preventing the effective control of mosquitoes in your area?

Maybe it’s time to stand up to them, because mosquitoes are more than a mere nuisance; they can be deadly.

If you live in the tropics, malaria can still kill you the way it always has: very painfully over the course of a few days, or within hours if you’re lucky. In northern climes, West Nile virus can likewise kill you within days if you’re young or elderly. But don’t bother complaining to organic activists about mosquitoes that carry these diseases.

Dying from preventable diseases like West Nile virus and malaria is “natural,” according to leaders of the organic movement. Better to let people die rather than resort to the use of synthetic substances to control mosquitoes. It has been the case since activists banned DDT in 1972, eliminating our only effective means of preventing the spread of malaria.

The United Nations’ World Health Organization has finally backed off, somewhat, in its resolute ban of DDT. But still, upwards of one million people die every year in the world’s poorest regions, mostly children under the age of five, from a preventable disease.

Here in North America, the leadership of the organic community is likewise doing everything it can to impede the effective control of mosquitoes.

In Colorado, a judge recently ruled that longtime resident Jim Hopper can continue spraying mosquitoes on his property, but only as long as he stays 45 metres back from his neighbour’s organic fields. Federal law, meanwhile, requires only a 7.5-metre buffer … on the organic crop side of the fence. Through judicial activism, egged on by organic fanatics, mosquitoes can now continue to breed freely along a vast swath of Jim’s property.

Jim started spraying when his wife Georgia contracted West Nile virus back in 2006, after local authorities gave in to organic activists and stopped spraying mosquitoes. Georgia Hopper almost died, so Jim bought his own equipment and set out to protect his wife’s health, not to mention that of others in the area.

Organic activists dragged Jim and Georgia into court and enforced the absurd 45-metre buffer restriction. The baseless legal restriction has no precedent. Instead, it is being imposed in the name of an empty concept of being “natural.”

In British Columbia, Erica Kroeker, who ran her local government’s mosquito-control program, warned local politicians that “organic farms will lose their status” if larvicide is used on their property to control mosquitoes. She was being egged on by the folks who run the tax-subsidized offices of Certified Organic Associations of B.C. But guess what?

Organic farmers will not lose their certification if mosquito larvicide is applied on their property, or if mosquito spray is used near their property. The only way an organic farmer could face any possible backlash for allowing a neighbour or local authority to spray or apply larvicide is if someone within the leadership of the organic industry arbitrarily decertified or threatened to decertify his land. This would not only be unconscionable, but illegal.

In both cases, organic activists want no spraying and only a “natural” larvicide to be used. But Bacillus thuringiensis serovar israelensis (Bti) dissipates quickly and has to be re-applied every time it rains. Bti also kills non-biting midges that are food for fish, so it’s actually worse than man-made larvicide that specifically targets mosquito larvae. And if an effective larvicide isn’t used, you then have no choice but eventually to spray mosquitoes after they take flight.

But facts be damned. Authorities in Colorado and B.C. have decided to allow organic activists to “help” determine what qualifies as an “acceptable” solution, which is tantamount to asking vegetarians to come up with an “acceptable” version of the turkey dinner. Rabid activists without any academic credentials in entomology or disease pathology are taking control of your family’s health.

Considering that mosquitoes don’t even attack fruit trees or crops, the application of mosquito spray or larvicide on neighbouring properties cannot in any way affect the production of organic food, not even in theory.

In fact, since synthetic sprays and larvicide won’t harm or benefit an organic farmer, it could be argued that, in certain circumstances at least, these man-made substances should be applied directly to organic land to protect the public from deadly disease. Doing so will have no adverse effect whatsoever on an organic farmer’s certification status, unless, as mentioned, the organic movement leadership capriciously decertified that farmer.

Of course, death is natural. But letting people acquire diseases that will kill them without adopting perfectly preventable scientific solutions to avoid them is not.

Mischa Popoff is a former organic farmer and Advanced Organic Farm and Process Inspector. He’s the author of Is it Organic? (