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Letter: Summer Spraying Program is Needed

This is in response to an article in the Massapequa Observer’s April 6 issue. It was in the Home Garden Supplement and warned residents that as the weather warms, mosquitoes may breed wherever there is standing water. A list was given of outdoor places where pools of water may accumulate, and the danger of this was emphasized. In recent years, a number of deaths have occurred on Long Island due to mosquitoes carrying West Nile Virus. (“Buzz Off: Keeping Your Property Mosquito Free,” The Massapequa Observer, April 16.) While the article’s recommendation was entirely sensible, not that many people are likely to comply. What we really need is a spraying program.

Last year, as we were repeatedly bothered by mosquitoes and had read about West Nile in the press, I wrote Peter Schmitt, the presiding officer of the Nassau County Legislature.

He responded that the county’s department of health was informing the media that, weather permitting, aerial spraying would be conducted on September 7 and 8.

We had been eaten alive all summer long, had become virtual prisoners in our own homes, and they were finally going to spray twice in September, weather permitting.

I then proceeded to write a second letter, this one to Edward P. Mangano, the Nassau County executive. It pointed out the obvious. Mosquitoes and other insects have always been a problem on Long Island. Rather than responding after West Nile is encountered, what is clearly needed is a preventive program, one in which spraying is done periodically all summer long.

Some of us know that angry letters are seldom very effective. In writing, I therefore made an effort to be polite. Clearly, Mr. Mangano is dealing with many programs, some of which he may feel are much more important than mosquitoes. Perhaps that’s the reason there was no response to my letter. Summer is coming and we wonder: Will we be able to enjoy our gardens and yards?

James E. Studenrauch