Don’t Spray Me! events


If you can’t see the calendar above, click here.
See also the Chesco Environment Calendar here.

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Bti for Mosquito Control

Good advice on larviciding from the US EPA. It’s so much easier to get rid of larvae that can’t escape than winged adults that fly where they wish! And right now is the time to dispatch all possible larvae, before numbers start to multiply.

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1. What is Bti?

Bti is a biological or a naturally occurring bacterium found in soils. (Bti is short for Bacillus thuringiensis subspecies israelensis.) It contains spores that produce toxins that specifically target and only affect the larvae of the mosquito, blackfly and fungus gnat. EPA has registered five different strains of Bti found in 48 pesticide products that are approved for use in residential, commercial and agricultural settings primarily for control of mosquito larvae.

2. Does Bti pose health risks to humans?

No. Bti has no toxicity to people and is approved for use for pest control in organic farming operations. It has been well tested by many studies on acute toxicity and pathogenicity (ability to cause disease) for Bacillus thuringiensis including studies specifically on Bti. Based on these studies, EPA has concluded that Bti does not pose a risk to humans.

3. Where has Bti been used for mosquito control?

Bti is used across the United States for mosquito control. Bti is approved for aerial spraying, which has taken place in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Michigan, among other states. Bti can be sprayed over waterbodies such as ponds, lakes, rivers and streams. Bti is used to kill developing mosquito larvae by being applied to standing water where those larvae are found. Bti can be used around homes in areas and containers where water can collect, such as flower pots, tires, and bird baths. Bti can also be used to treat larger bodies of water like ponds, lakes and irrigation ditches.

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4. Will Bti work to control mosquito larvae?

Yes, Bti has been shown to be effective in reducing mosquito larval populations and could be effective in controlling mosquitos carrying Zika, dengue and chikungunya in places like Puerto Rico and other areas where these diseases have been identified.

5. Are insects becoming resistant to Bti?

No. There is no documented resistance to Bti as a larvicide. A recent study (Tetreau et al. 2013) confirmed previous research showing a lack of Bti resistance in mosquito populations that had been treated for decades with Bti.

6. Are there special precautions to be taken during Bti spraying?

No special precautions are needed for applying Bti. A number of Bti products are sold as “homeowner” products and are easy and safe to use. People do not need to leave areas being treated. However, as is the case with many microbial pesticides, some commercial use Bti products may require applicators to wear a dust/mist filtering mask.

7. How will I know if aerial spraying is going to take place?

Decisions about where and when to spray will be made by local officials. Listen for announcements in your community with the dates, times and locations of upcoming sprayings on social media sites, newspapers or radios.

8. Does Bti pose risk to crops or water supplies?

No. Bti has no toxicity to people, so it can be applied safely to mosquito habitat without a detrimental impact on food crops or water supplies. In fact, Bti can be used for pest control in organic farming operations. It is important to follow the label for any Bti product to ensure that the product is being used correctly. There are multiple Bti products and some are allowed to be used on certain drinking water (e.g., cisterns) while others are not intended for that use.

9. Is Bti harmful to wildlife including honey bees?

Studies indicate Bti has minimal toxicity to honey bees. Bti produces toxins that specifically affect the larvae of only mosquitoes, black flies and fungus gnats. These toxins do not affect other types of insects including honey bees.

10. Is there a medical test to show whether I’ve been exposed to Bti?

Since Bti has no toxicity to humans, a medical test to show exposure to the active ingredient has not been developed.

11. What other measures should be taken to control mosquitoes besides aerial spraying?

Eliminate any standing water (even tiny amounts) to prevent infected mosquitoes from laying their eggs (breeding) in standing water.

Use window and door screens to block infected mosquitoes from entering your home, workplace or children’s schools.

Use EPA-registered insect repellents to prevent getting bitten. EPA-registered means the product works and is safe when you follow the directions.

Dress in light-colored clothing, long pants, and long sleeves and try to avoid areas where mosquitoes are present.

West Chester Green Team Strawberry Festival

West Chester Green Team Strawberry Festival
Sunday, May 19⋅1:00 – 4:00pm

Everhart Park, 601 W Union St., West Chester, PA 19382. About 2/3 of the way from S. Brandywine St. to S. Bradford Ave.

West Chester Green Team Strawberry Festival, 1-4 p.m. Sun. May 19. All activities structured around the principles of the Green Team: environment, sustainability, green living.

Everhart Park, 601 W Union St., West Chester, PA 19382. About 2/3 of the way from S. Brandywine St. to S. Bradford Ave.

Strawberry shortcake with ice cream by the West Chester Co-operative. Friends of Everhart Park will offer a botanical walk around the park at 2 p.m. Lots of environmental booths sharing information. Displays, games, demonstrations, botanical walk, info on making bat houses, decorating reusable shopping bags, endangered species art activity, pedal power to light bulbs and see energy usage, face painting, yoga in the park, bean bag toss….

Also talks on attracting wildlife to your yard–one for birds and one for butterflies. And Rob Montgomery of Montgomery Landscape Nurseries will conduct a potting activity–organic and plastic free–with peat pots. Information on making bat houses. Buy Nothing West Chester will hold a clothing repair and enhancement workshop to keep old clothes out of landfills and a White Elephant fish pond.

Co-sponsors: West Chester Green Team and its member groups: Chester County Citizens for Climate Protection (4CP), Don’t Spray Me!, Green Team Youth Corps, Plastic-Free Please, Ready for 100, plus Sierra Club and West Chester Co-operative.

If you wish to enjoy a picnic, please bring your own food, drink, and utensils.

More info about the event: mhudgings@gmail.com. About the Green Team: https://wcgreenteam.wordpress.com/.

Climate action and today’s youth, May 23

Thursday, May 23, 6:30 p.m. displays, 7:00 program: Video of Greta Thunberg, Swedish high schooler who became a world phenomenon by launching a students’ strike for solving the climate crisis, plus a panel of students discussing the video and the Green New Deal movement.

Room 101, Business and Public Management Center, 50 Sharpless St., West Chester 19382. Park across the street in Sharpless Parking Garage. All welcome.

Doors open at 6:30 so come then for environmental and community group exhibits. No refreshments this time but you can fill up your refillable water bottles.

Program presented by the West Chester Green Team, which includes Chester County Citizens for Climate Protection, Ready for 100, Plastic-Free Please, and Don’t Spray Me!

This is the second in the Green Team’s hot button environmental series, addressing issues at the forefront of people’s thinking at this time in our history.

More info about the program: karamarie3@icloud.com

About the Green Team: https://wcgreenteam.wordpress.com/

DSM and CCEA

DSM had a productive weekend with of our environmental friends in the Chester County Environment Alliance. CCEA is an alliance of 29 locally active environmental organizations.

CCEA meets at least quarterly to discuss issues affecting our environment, help each other’s groups amplify our messages, coordinate events and campaigns, and use our resources jointly to help our shared mission to preserve and protect our environment.

At our May 4 meeting, we recapped the successful Earth Day Festival at Kerr Park in Downingtown and talked about next steps moving forward.

We’re excited to keep working together, and we look forward to connecting with local Chester County Environmental and Sustainability Advisory Councils in the coming months.

Find out more about the Chester County Environment Alliance and its member groups at www.chescoenvt.org/.

“Non-toxic lawns & gardens and weed-free sidewalks”

“Non-toxic lawns & gardens and weed-free sidewalks”

Thursday, April 25. Doors open at 6:30 so come then for community and group exhibits. Talk begins at 7:00.

Andy Yencha from Penn State Extension speaker’s bureau in Cumberland County will speak on “Greening you Lawn, Naturally” and Dr. John Jackson, entomologist, will speak on “Bugs and Weeds Away–the Natural Way.” Q&A follows.

Business and Public Management Center, 50 Sharpless St., West Chester 19382. Park across the street in the Sharpless Parking Garage.

Two related topics: non-toxic ways to grow great lawns and vegetables and to keep weeds out of sidewalks. A green double-header presented by the West Chester Green Team, which includes 4CP, Ready for 100, Plastic-Free Please, and Don’t Spray Me!

This is the first in the Green Team’s hot button environmental series, addressing issues at the forefront of people’s thinking at this time in our history.

More info: mhudgings@gmail.com

Sidewalk teens DLN 7:17:17

Chemical exposure can harm future generations

This research is a real warning. US testing for harm done by toxic chemicals has long disregarded pregnant women. Recent studies have developed knowledge about epigenetics, the “on-and-off switch” mechanism that adds another layer to Darwin. Fungicides, pesticides, jet fuel, bisphenol A, DEET, atrazine, and as we already knew Roundup: all dangerous to people, and now known dangerous for generations. Rats, mice and pigs are often used as stand-ins for humans in medical testing.

Glyphosate Causes Serious Multi-Generational Health Damage to Rats – New WSU Research , Sustainable Pulse, Apr 23 2019

Michael Skinner, a WSU professor of biological sciences, and his colleagues exposed pregnant rats to the herbicide between their eighth and 14th days of gestation. The dose–half the amount expected to show no adverse effect–produced no apparent ill effects on either the parents or the first generation of offspring.

But writing in the journal Scientific Reports, the researchers say they saw “dramatic increases” in several pathologies affecting the second and third generations. The second generation had “significant increases” in testis, ovary and mammary gland diseases, as well as obesity. In third-generation males, the researchers saw a 30 percent increase in prostate disease – three times that of a control population. The third generation of females had a 40 percent increase in kidney disease, or four times that of the controls.

More than one-third of the second-generation mothers had unsuccessful pregnancies, with most of those affected dying. Two out of five males and females in the third generation were obese.

Skinner and his colleagues call this phenomenon “generational toxicology” and they’ve seen it over the years in fungicides, pesticides, jet fuel, the plastics compound bisphenol A, the insect repellent DEET and the herbicide atrazine. At work are epigenetic changes that turn genes on and off, often because of environmental influences….

read more at Sustainable Pulse

West Chester Green Team

The West Chester Green Team is a new organization in the West Chester PA area supporting a renewable future and residents’ desire to lead a greener life style.

Component organizations:

Don’t Spray Me! (DSM) raises awareness about the dangers of pesticides, herbicides, and other chemicals, and promotes natural gardens and lawns, and healthy food.

Plastic-Free Please Action Group (Facebook: here) informs residents and businesses about reducing plastic use in our everyday lives and encourages retailers to reduce single-use bags and packaging.

Chester County Citizens for Climate Protection (4CP) educates the community on the serious consequences of climate change and promotes actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Ready for 100 works with local leaders and helps cities and communities to transition to 100% clean, renewable energy.

See more on WCGT here.

West Chester Green Team and its component groups are members of the Chester County Environment Alliance (CCEA), which includes a detailed countywide environment calendar.

Download a pdf with the above info here: WCGT handout 2 pdf

Monsanto Roundup Attacks Healthy Gut Bacteria, Lawsuit Says

By Lydia Mulvany and Deena Shanker, Bloomberg, February 13, 2019

Monsanto Co. has been sued by thousands of farmers and others who blame their cancers on its massively popular Roundup weedkiller. Now Germany’s Bayer AG, which bought the agriculture giant last year, faces a claim that it deceived home gardeners about Roundup’s impact on their gut bacteria and their health.

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in federal court in Kansas City, Missouri, claims that labels on products such as Roundup’s Weed & Grass Killer falsely assured consumers that they target an enzyme not found “in people or pets.”

According to the suit — which names three consumers as plaintiffs seeking unspecified monetary damages and class action status — Roundup’s active ingredient glyphosate attacks an enzyme also found in the beneficial intestinal bacteria of humans and some animals.

“Monsanto has misled consumers about glyphosate’s risks for decades,” plaintiffs’ attorney Robert F. Kennedy Jr. said in an email. “Despite the company’s efforts to suppress and skew research on glyphosate, the science is in.”

The Roundup products at issue are distributed by Scotts Miracle-Gro, which is also named as a defendant. Two other suits, in Wisconsin and Washington, D.C., are based on similar arguments but aren’t class actions…

read more at Bloomberg

A Green Idea: Beeting the Ice

from West Goshen Township Newsletter, vol. 20, no. 1 (summer 2010) [A new idea in West Goshen 9 years ago, but not yet in West Chester, it seems…]

West Goshen Township has added a new weapon in its arsenal against ice: beet juice. Dry salt is effective at lowering the melting temperature of ice to about 15 degrees Fahrenheit—that is, it will melt ice at temperatures of 15 degrees or above. De-sugared beet molasses, when added to dry salt or brine, can melt ice at temperatures as low as -25 degrees, while adding traction, acting as a corrosion inhibitor, and not harming the environment like other brine additives. The beet juice solution is not slippery and doesn’t stain roads or cars. The salt brine and beet juice combination provide optimal results, allowing maximum melting while releasing the least amount of salt onto the roadways. Because the brine solution does not need to be spread as heavily as road salt, trucks do not need to refill as often, meaning additional fuel savings.

Blame Wood-Burning Stoves for Winter Air Pollution and Health Threats

By Michael D. Mehta, EcoWatch, 3/12/19

It may be natural, but there’s nothing safe or environmentally sound about heating your home with wood.

The World Health Organization has ranked air pollution and climate change as the top health threat for 2019. One in nine deaths around the world are due to air pollution.

In Canada, air pollution kills nine times more people than automobile accidents. My own research shows that in rural British Columbia the main source of winter air pollution is residential wood burning, and that it is mostly being ignored and rarely monitored by government.

Health Hazard

Wood smoke may smell good, but it is not good for you.

The main threat comes from the cocktail of tiny particles and droplets that are about 2.5 microns in diameter (also called PM2.5). Due to their size, they easily work their way into our lungs, bloodstream, brain and other organs, triggering asthma attacks, allergic responses, heart attacks and stroke.

Chronic exposure to PM2.5 is linked to heart disease, lung cancer in non-smokers, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Type II diabetes and dementia.

Wood smoke affects everyone, but children are especially vulnerable in part because their respiratory systems are under development. Pregnant women exposed to wood smoke may have children with smaller lungs, impaired immune systems, decreased thyroid function and changes to brain structure that may contribute to difficulties with self control. Children who are hospitalized for lower respiratory tract infections are more likely to have a wood stove in the house, although other factors may also play a role.

The elderly are also at risk. A recent study of people living in BC, in Kamloops, Prince George, Courtenay and the Comox Valley, showed that wood stove pollution significantly increased the rate of heart attacks in people over 65.

And that nice smell? It comes from benzene, a carcinogen (cancer-causing substance) and acrolein.

With the dozens of toxic and carcinogenic chemicals in wood smoke, it’s inconsistent for governments to ban smoking and vaping in public places while ignoring the smoke from wood stoves and fireplaces….

read more and follow links to more info at EcoWatch