In a May 13 Press Herald article, Brunswick Town Manager John Eldridge said that aerial sprays and chemical pesticides may not be effective against browntail moths and may raise environmental concerns.

According to Maine Forest Service entomologist Tom Schmeelk, “a naturally occurring fungus can infect the caterpillars, causing kill-offs after a particularly wet spring,” the paper reported.

In a July 3 article, Schmeelk told the Press Herald: “We are seeing collapses of browntail moth due to the fungus entomophaga aulicae and possibly other pathogens.”

It seems that browntail moths were much less of a problem this year than anticipated and probably not because of any spraying that was done.

Now, according to a Sept. 12 Northern Forecaster article, Yarmouth is considering spraying with Conserve SC and acephate. They are highly toxic to aquatic life. Aerial spraying will definitely result in release of the pesticides to aquatic environments, not to mention the backyards of everyone. Do you want your kids playing in pesticides and inhaling them? In addition, according to its safety data sheet, acephate is highly toxic to bees. Neither pesticide is biodegradable.

So why are coastal towns considering spraying pesticides that may not work and will most likely cause great harm to the environment? Beneficial insects, streams, rivers, lakes, ponds, clam flats and so on have taken multiple hits.

Let’s not rush to add to the problem. Remember that camels can only carry so many straws before they collapse. Perhaps researchers are working on ways to encourage the growth of the fungus.

Judith Foster


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