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Farmers worry about impacts of EEE aerial spraying

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Posted at 8:57 PM, Oct 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-01 20:57:21-04

LANSING, Mich. — As long as the weather cooperates, low-flying planes will be spraying for mosquitoes Tuesday night in part of Jackson County.

The goal of the spraying is to kill the mosquitoes that spread Eastern Equine Encephalitis, a virus that has killed three people in Michigan so far this year.

Havenswood Farm, a non-profit, educational farm, said they are concerned for their animals, land and food they grow.

"We forage a lot of mushrooms and plants right now and this pretty much is going to end our season because everything out in the forest is going to be contaminated," Peter Savoie, Havenswood Farm Manager said.

Savoie has managed Havenswood Farm in Grass Lake Township for several years. He's not sure the risk of EEE is worth the potential side effects of aerial spraying.

"I understand the fear of why we're doing this, but to me we really need to make sure that this is really the answer, that this is really going to solve the problem, and at what cost," Savoie said.

Local health administrators said the spray won't hurt you or your pets.

"With this aerial spraying people really don't need to do anything different. No real impacts to human health are expected from this spray, but concerned individuals can stay inside and they will not be exposed," Dr. Daniel Woodall, medical director for Barry-Eaton District Health Department said.
The active ingredient called pyrethrin is found in chrysanthemum flowers, which makes up 5% of the pesticide--Savoie is worried about everything else in it.
The active ingredient called pyrethrin is found in chrysanthemum flowers, which makes up 5% of the pesticide--Savoie is worried about everything else in it.
"The other 95% of it is this chemical, the chemicals that go into it that make it airborne, so it's going to linger in the air for two or three days after they spray it," Savoie said.
"The other 95% of it is this chemical, the chemicals that go into it that make it airborne, so it's going to linger in the air for two or three days after they spray it," Savoie said.
In preparation for the spray, Havenswood is taking action so their animals won't be impacted.
In preparation for the spray, Havenswood is taking action so their animals won't be impacted.
"We usually keep goats here in the fall to help cut back invasive species -- we have had to remove those further away where they're going to be spraying to a safer location because they're eating the foliage -- those chemicals going to fall on the leaves-- they eat the leaves it's going to make them sick," Savoie said.
"We usually keep goats here in the fall to help cut back invasive species -- we have had to remove those further away where they're going to be spraying to a safer location because they're eating the foliage -- those chemicals going to fall on the leaves-- they eat the leaves it's going to make them sick," Savoie said.
The droplets from the spray will stay in the air for a couple of days.
The droplets from the spray will stay in the air for a couple of days.
They're supposed to kill mosquitoes on contact.
They're supposed to kill mosquitoes on contact.
The spraying is done at night because that's when mosquitoes are most active and because fish are less likely to be feeding near the surface.
The spraying is done at night because that's when mosquitoes are most active and because fish are less likely to be feeding near the surface.
The Jackson County Health Department recommends anyone with a backyard fish pond to cover it up Tuesday night.
The Jackson County Health Department recommends anyone with a backyard fish pond to cover it up Tuesday night.
If you are concerned about the EEE spraying, you can try and opt out by emailing eee@michigan.gov.
If you are concerned about the EEE spraying, you can try and opt out by emailing eee@michigan.gov.
The health department said you can avoid mosquito bites by doing the following:
• Use an EPA-approved insect repellent containing an active ingredient like DEET, picaridin, IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus on exposed skin and/or clothing. Always follow the directions on the package.
• Wear long sleeves and pants when outdoors as the weather permits.
• Consider limiting time outdoors from dusk to dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
• Maintain window and door screening to keep mosquitoes outside.
• Eliminate mosquito breeding sites by emptying standing water from flower pots, buckets, children's toys, or other containers around your home.
• Eliminate mosquito breeding sites by emptying standing water from flower pots, buckets, children's toys, or other containers around your home.

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