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Swedish town overrun by mosquitoes

Stuart Roberts · 10 Jul 2009, 12:41

Published: 10 Jul 2009 12:41 GMT+02:00

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Due to rules restricting the use of pesticides designed to protect nearby nature reserves, mosquitoes have been breeding unhindered, leaving residents almost completely housebound, the Dagens Nyheter newspaper reports.

“It’s hell. We have nearly lost hope,” Österfärnebo resident Maria Brooks told the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper.

“We just sit inside and look at each other.”

Brooks's family has owned a farm in the area since 1540, complete with horses, cows, goats and hens.

But an ageing fence remains unmended and other chores are piling up as the mosquitoes have put a stop to all outdoor work.

“You become really stressed, that you can’t go out and do the things that need to be done,” said Brooks.

Ingrid Bergman lives in the nearby village of Ista, which may be teeming with even more mosquitoes than Österfärnebo.

Earlier authorities allowed the use of the pesticide ‘BTI Bioinsecticide’ to control the insects. Spraying was carried out over the last three weeks, and seemed to cure the problem.

But when the Swedish Chemicals Agency (Kemikalieinspektionen) stopped the spraying of 600 hectares in nearby Färnebofjärden national park, the mosquitoes returned with a vengeance.

“The mosquitoes were as thick as before. After one week they were back and they hatched new eggs all the time,” Bergman told DN.

Residents are very frustrated that local authorities haven't taken care of the problem, instead leaving residents to fight the bureaucracy with letters, telephone calls and meetings.

They feel that the problem lies in a lack of coordination between the county authorities and the Swedish Chemicals Agency, responsible for authorizing the use of chemicals.

Story continues below…

“This is bureaucracy. If public servants just came here to see the problem first hand, they would understand us,” said Bergman.

Finally however, the Swedish Chemicals Agency has recently sent an application to the central government seeking a resolution authorizing them to control the mosquito problem with BTI.

“We couldn’t anticipate that the problem would be so extreme,” Siv Ljungquist, head of department at the Swedish Chemicals Agency, told DN.

Stuart Roberts (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

14:47 July 10, 2009 by theelemur
If chemical mosquito control is a problem, a device is available that uses oxidation products of propane gas supplemented with other attractants to lure the pests to their doom.

Downsides: they're expensive to buy and run.


Good luck.
09:19 July 11, 2009 by jimfromcanada
Deep Woods Off, and Muskol are two mosquito repellants that are widely used in areas of Canada that have a lot of mosquitos or other insects. They are quite effective. The active ingrediant is called DEET. So if you have to go outside when there are a lot of mosquitos use a repellant that has ~ 25% DEET content.
11:22 July 12, 2009 by Thebinary1
I guess its time for some heads to roll. Who in their right minds would rely on regular spraying of national parks to keep levels of insects and parasites in check?

The norm is to introduce birds that feed on the insects and parasites into the park.
07:23 July 13, 2009 by lingonberrie
I agree. Restore the balance of nature and allow things to return to a normal situation.

However, Alaska, the Yukon, Maine, Hudson Bay, and parts E, W, N, S and all compass points between, have had and will have infestations of mosquitoes no matter what the balance of nature.

Black flys are just as bad. When I worked outdoors in Maine, of fished for trout, I used an old repellant that was effective, DEET is useless, and a head-netting get-up that covered my neck and wore long-sleeves and pants.

You can't stop living. This isn't a new factor. Adapt.
16:17 July 15, 2009 by storstark
me thinks there has been quite a period of time between Brooks's family first farming the area in 1540 to the use of BTI Bioinsecticide... so... what did they used to do to control the insects in the area??? as above, solutions lie in environmental balance, not the use of 20th century pesticides (which have probably contributed more to stronger, better breeding and resilient mosquitos than to their control)
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