Opinions split on spraying fumes to combat mosquitoes, ticks

PITTSFIELD, Mass. (NEWS10) – It’s a debate that has one community split: spraying fumes to keep harmful bugs away.

Tick and mosquito borne diseases have more than tripled in the past 15 years. Many communities spray fumes to combat the insects, but some think the toxins they may contain are not the answer.

For Katelynn Histergray, her daughter is everything.

“She’s my number one priority no matter what,” she said.

And on sunny days, she enjoys the moments and the laughs outside. But she doesn’t like the spraying of fumes to battle insects.

“For one, it’s toxic to our children, our animals,” she said.

Last year, there were numerous cases of mosquitoes in Pittsfield that carried the West Nile Virus. Even still, Histergray said she’d rather protect her daughter with her own methods.

“Throw some bug spray on your kid,” she said. “Don’t go out after a certain time. Don’t go near standing water.”

But Elizabeth DeAndrade disagrees. She said the fumes have a very low amount of toxins. In her mind, the tradeoff is worth it.

“It’s better to spray and be safe than to not spray and see what can happen,” she said.

The person who spearheads the bug control is Christopher Horton, who works for the city. He spoke with NEWS10 ABC last summer.

“There’s a likelihood that a virus will increase as the season goes on,” he said.

He’ll go to areas that have reported issues and spray. He said the fumes don’t last long.

“It’s going to dissipate in the atmosphere,” he said.

And while the fumes could potentially be bad…

“Nobody wants to end up hospitalized with West Nile.”

According to a recent study, insect borne diseases account for more than 700,000 deaths across the world every year.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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