Why this sweat bee and I hate your mosquito contract

Carolina rose and sweat bee
Rosa carolina and friend

When I was a kid, sweat bees were the enemy. Now we are.

This little sweat bee is gathering pollen from a native Carolina rose.
See the yellow grains stuck to the hairs on her legs?
She’s likely gathering provisions for eggs laid in a teensy underground tunnel.

Sweat bees are just another native bee, just another invaluable pollinator. And like all invertebrates—and the rest of us—they are in danger from our mosquito “management” contracts and from our addiction to tidy, yet toxic lawns.

Right now, there’s a huge kerfuffle at work in my neighborhood email group about mosquito “control” contracts. I am delighted. Because until now, I thought I was the only one nearby who thought it dumb to hire dudes in masks to spray lawns with pesticide. “Organic” or not, it is pesticide in those fancy backpacks, and it will not “target” mosquitos only.

Goodbye fireflies, butterfly larvae, soldier beetles, inchworms, bumblebees, hoverflies, ladybugs, jumping spiders and so on and so on.
In your yard and mine.

Can’t we try to minimize mosquito habitat without destroying the habitat of everyone else?

I’ve got plants that need pollinating and birds that need feeding, as well as hungry skinks and garter snakes and possums and raptors and bats and orbweavers and whatnot.
I hope you do, too.
And I’d like to stop getting chased inside by scented overspray from nearby “applications.”

May the kerfuffle continue, because it has finally gotten folks talking.

P. S. I was taught to be helpful even when I kvetch, so I found an article that qualifies as a good resource:  “How to control mosquitos without killing pollinators and other important wildlife.” 

 

 

 

 

 

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