Letter to Berthoud Surveyor


Speaking as one of the “mosquito people”, all of our correspondences with Mayor and Trustees are on public record. We have been respectful and considerate with every inquiry and letter.  

Subjects covered in our correspondence and addresses concerned the following:

The ecosystem here in town, which naturally supports low numbers of mosquitoes as evidenced by trap data.

Lifecycle of dragonflies. The most voracious mosquito predator is one of the most fragile members of our ecosystem. Dragonflies can take up to two years to repopulate. Mosquitoes, on the other hand, reproduce every 7 to 10 days.

Larviciding is preemptive, stopping the mosquito larva from developing into adults – the most safe, effective protocol to protect our citizens from bites and WNV.

The toxicity of the product being sprayed has not been well published. Permethrin is a neurotoxin, combined with PBO, an enzyme inhibitor, making a much more toxic formula than permethrin alone.

Damage to bees and major bee losses in Berthoud. AquaKontrol’s own information sheet has this warning: “Bee Warning: This product is highly toxic to bees exposed to direct treatment on blooming crops or weeds. Do not apply to blooming crops or weeds ..”

Evidence of danger to pregnant women, small children, the elderly and ill from exposure to AquaKontrol 30/30.

Areas of standing water around town can be eliminated or treated with larvicide.

Five independent entomologists all recommended source control and larviciding as the primary and most effective practices for heading off mosquito populations.

Concern for organic gardens, food forests, and flower gardens all over town.

Long term effects of pesticide use, and the practicality and efficacy of larviciding.

Our efforts all along have been focused on the health and well being of all Berthoud citizens and the beautiful ecosystem of this charming town.

Sarah Wadleigh, Clinical Herbalist/Organic Gardener

Sign Our Petition to Let the Town of Berthoud know

I would like to invite you to sign a petition to be submitted to the Town Board of Berthoud regarding the issue of mosquito spraying.

Sign the petition! 

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Last August, the Town of Berthoud conducted an “Emergency Spraying” of pesticides over the entire town.  Unfortunately, it was not an emergency and toxic chemicals were sprayed putting at risk the environment, beneficial insects, animals and human health.

Additionally, shut-offs to chemically sensitive people were not honored and inadequate notice was provided to the citizens of Berthoud.   This decision compromised the risk of chemical exposure to our health (people were told to stay indoors during the spraying for at least 4 hours) and to our organic gardens (some people were out of town or unaware of the spray).  The spraying was triggered by a vague and poorly written resolution that was passed in 2015.

We believe the board has taken steps in the right direction.  During the March 28th Town Board meeting, a ¾ mile larvicide application perimeter around town was adopted to strengthen source reduction.  Larvicide is one of two of the strongest methods to get rid of diseased mosquitoes (the second is education) as noted by the Larimer County Department of Health and Colorado Mosquito Control.

Larvicide prevents mosquitoes from hatching by putting a naturally occurring bacterium in water areas where mosquitoes are known to breed.  This superior method strongly prevents the emergence of adult mosquitoes and WNV in our community.  Larviciding has successfully worked for 5 years here in Berthoud with only .001% of people reporting WNV in the entire area of Berthoud.  Out of the these reported cases, it is uncertain if they even contracted WNV in Berthoud, another town or state.

The only time that the Larimer County Department of Health has issued an emergency was in 2003 at the onset of WNV.  Spraying pesticides should only occur under true emergency conditions as deemed by CDC or Larimer County Department of Health.

The cities of Denver and Boulder successfully employ a Larvicide and Education only policy stating environmental and health concerns caused by spraying

We are requesting that you sign this petition in support of a strong larvicide program combined with public education about self-protection and source reduction on private property.   We are also requesting that you sign this petition in support of spraying to be done only when an emergency condition is declared and conducted by the Larimer County Department of Health.

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Sign the petition! 

What are we being exposed to?


The product is called Aqua-Kontrol 30-30.

First ingredient: Permethrin, which is a synthetic pesticide.  Very different from and much more toxic than the familiar pyrethrum made from chrysanthemum flowers.

Permethrin is neurotoxic and labeled as carcinogenic by the Environmental Protection Agency.  Permethrin primarily targets the nervous system, but is also harmful to other organ systems.

“Because permethrin caused lung tumors in female rats and liver tumors in male rats, the Environmental Protection Agency has labeled permethrin a carcinogen. Children are more susceptible to permethrin toxicity than adults. Early experiments discovered that permethrin targets the immune system and can cause a variety of illnesses, some of which occur in the reproductive organs, and cause permanent damage to the unborn fetus. Additionally, permethrin is a mutagen and can lead to chromosome abnormalities.”


Permethrin also has endocrine-disrupting properties:

Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that interfere with the communication system of glands, hormones, and cellular receptors that control the body’s internal functions. A relatively unique feature of endocrine disruptors is that they exert their effects at extremely low doses, even when higher doses exhibit no adverse effects. Disorders that have increased in prevalence in recent years such as unusual male gonadal development, infertility, ADHD, autism, intellectual impairment, diabetes, thyroid disorders, and childhood and/or adult cancers are now being linked to prenatal exposure to endocrine disruptors.

The second ingredient, Piperonyl Butoxide, is rarely mentioned, but is often referred to as the Trojan Horse of pesticide formulations. A known carcinogen, PBO is added to impair the immune function of the insects so that the permethrin can circulate longer inside the body and do more damage to the nervous system.  It does this by blocking enzyme function.  Piperonyl butoxide is listed as an irreversible enzyme inhibitor – the most toxic kind.

And there are the petroleum distillates and the undisclosed “inert ingredients” that make up more than 40% of the formula.  These inert ingredients are often more toxic than the active ingredients, especially in combination with PBO.  Shouldn’t we be allowed to know what is being sprayed into our environment?  Why are these ingredients “proprietary?”

To be effective, a drop of pesticide has to come into direct contact with a mosquito.  For every drop of toxic spray that actually reaches a mosquito, thousands of drops drift through the air, raining down everywhere in our beloved town.

Neurotoxin + Enzyme Inhibitor = Impaired Immunity

Enzymes are the body’s first line of defense against bacteria, viruses, toxins, inflammation and all other imbalances.  Enzymes transport nutrients and are the vital spark in our bodies, gardens, animal companions, bats, birds, bees, dragonflies and plants. Enzymes allow life to happen.

Enzymes are one of the most essential elements in your body for the health and wellness of every bodily function. Every breath you take and every action you have both mentally and physically, requires enzymes.  All other living beings, from bats to soil microbes, rely on enzyme activity to create a growing, healthy ecosystem.

The Importance of Enzymes to Your Health

Generally speaking, you will be healthy if the enzymes in your body are functioning properly. Once enzymes fail to perform their important functions, all organs begin to weaken. This can cause shoulder pain, general weakness of the extremities, dizziness, poor appetite, etc. You might not even be aware that you are sick. We call this a state of “semi-health” – not really healthy, yet not quite bad enough to call you truly sick. If this situation continues, the human body will be unable to fight off bacterial invasion, then various sorts of diseases will naturally follow, including cancer.

Enzymes: How They Work in the Body

a) Enzymes generate chemical reactions between two substances to create a new substance.

b) Enzymes regulate chemical processes in living cells – All living cells contain enzymes.

Simply put, enzymes regulate the complex processes of life itself.


Metabolic enzymes play a role in all bodily processes including breathing, talking, moving, thinking, behavior and maintenance of the immune system. A subset of these metabolic enzymes acts to neutralize poisons and carcinogens such as pollutants, DDT and tobacco smoke, changing them into less toxic forms that the body can eliminate.


With each application of Aqua-Kontrol 30-30, all of us are being exposed – our children, yards, pets, schools, gardens and homes.  Everyone in town, from the youngest to the oldest, are being exposed to these toxins in the days following a fogging.  Continuing down the path of indiscriminate pesticide use will only create more toxic accumulation, more damage to our ecosystem and our immune systems.  Children are especially at risk.

At low doses, this pesticide can be insidiously dangerous as our bodies adapt and store the toxic ingredients, which are so foreign to our biology and internal workings.

Every one of the 15 studies that we found on the immune system showed significant effects. Results indicated that permethrin led to the death and/or reduced production of blood cells necessary to fight bacteria and viruses and remove waste products from the blood. Varied physiological changes, including DNA damage, were reported in other systems.

Permethrin + Piperonyl Butoxide + “inert ingredients” do not simply go away after the spraying.  These toxins remain active on flowering plants, food crops, garden soil, playgrounds, lakes, yards and other surfaces for more than 40 days.  Children playing on lawns, dogs and cats who eat grass or chew on sticks, and people who work in their gardens will come into contact with this endocrine disrupting, carcinogenic, enzyme blocking toxin.  If applications are repeated week after week, year after year, damage to the environment and our health will become greater and more apparent.

The Good News

THERE IS ANOTHER WAY!  The cities of Denver and Boulder (and many others) have implemented an integrated pest management system that emphasizes a long range, eco-friendly plan that includes the use of a naturally-occurring larvacidal bacteria that prevents mosquito larvae from becoming adults.  Surveillance, source reduction, larvaciding, biological controls (dragonflies, birds, and bats) and Gambusia or mosquito fish are all part of the integrated pest management system.

IPM was initiated to overcome the shortfalls associated with indiscriminate application of pesticides. Pesticide application alone is not effective in controlling mosquito populations because it is difficult to get the pesticide into the habitat of the mosquitoes due to weather conditions (ex. rain, wind) or changes in adult mosquito activity. In addition, most pesticides used for adult mosquitoes do not provide long term residual control. Mosquito larvae are left to continue their development, and will quickly replace adults. In fact, mosquitoes can build resistance if pesticides are overused. Aside from their ineffectiveness, pesticides can have long term ecological, environmental, and human/animal health impacts. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) encourages non-chemical mosquito control measures; therefore, in an IPM approach to mosquito control, pesticides play only a small part in overall mosquito control.



An Integrated Pest Management system is much more effective and protective than indiscriminate spraying.  Let’s design an Integrated Pest Management policy to replace the existing Resolution 16-15 – for the health and well being of Berthoud and all of its inhabitants.

Pesticides -Not the Solution for WNV

Here are eight compelling reasons why spraying pesticides is not the solution for West Nile Virus:

1. Spraying is the Least Effective Measure 

The US Center for Disease Control and other experts say that spraying or fogging is the least effective means for slowing the spread of WNV carrying mosquitoes.  For fogging to have maximum effect, a mosquito has to be flying. Estimates are that fogging kills only about 10% of adult mosquitoes. The  federal-provincial task force on WNV admits there is little evidence for the efficacy of insecticide spraying.  Adult mosquitoes live only about two weeks, with new larvae hatching constantly. This means that spraying cannot be a one shot operation, but needs to be repeated frequently if chosen as a means of control .

2.  Predators Harmed, Mosquitoes Thrive

Aerial spraying or fogging is more harmful to mosquito predators than to mosquitoes. Since predators are farther up the food chain, they will take in higher amounts of pesticide. By decreasing mosquito predator populations, aerial spraying actually leads to increases in mosquito populations.  Data from a study in New York State published in the Journal for Mosquito Control  found that after 11 years of insecticide spraying, the mosquito population had increased 15 times. Pesticide exposure also results in immune suppression in birds, which serve as the hosts for WNV.   Birds exposed to organophosphate pesticides tend to suffer immune suppression (as do mammals, amphibians and other animals.) This makes them less able to fight off viral and bacterial infections, the very opposite of what is needed. Once infected with WNV, birds are more likely to develop symptoms and to remain ill longer than if they had not been exposed. Thus, pesticide spraying leads to more frequent and longer infections and higher viral loads in birds, making it more likely they will spread the disease to  mosquitoes. This increases the possibility of mosquitoes transmitting the virus to humans and other mammals.

3. Super Mosquitoes, Sicker Mosquitoes

For some reason, as yet unknown, mosquitoes exposed to pesticides are more likely to have WNV in their salivary glands and develop a damaged gut lining which becomes more porous, allowing WNV to pass through. Over a decade of insecticide spraying to control encephalitis in Florida has not been effective, and mosquitoes are now 15 times more likely to pass on the disease. Mosquitoes, which have short life spans, go through many generations in a single year. The mosquitoes which  are exposed to pesticides and survive are more likely to develop resistance to them. So spraying contributes to the development of “super mosquitoes” which can only be killed by using higher amounts or different types of pesticides.

4. Immediate Human Health Effects

Immediate health effects on humans from exposure to sprayed pesticides are considerable. A letter from 26 prominent physicians and scientists in Quebec released last summer states, “Indiscriminate spraying of pesticides, especially in heavily populated urban areas, is far more dangerous to human health and the natural environment than a relatively small risk of West Nile Virus…. Ironically, such spraying is especially dangerous to those with impaired immunity for whose ‘protection’ such spraying is mainly being done. ..Those individuals who are most vulnerable in this chemical action against mosquitoes include children, pregnant women, the elderly, chemically sensitive and immuno-suppressed individuals, such as patients with AIDS and cancer, and people suffering with asthma and other allergies.”

5. Long Term Health Effects

Pesticides used in mosquito control can contribute to immune suppression in humans. A report from the World Resources Institute notes, “Impairment of the immune system by chemical pesticides can lead to allergies, auto immune disorders such as lupus, and cancer. It may also lead to infections to which one may be normally resistant.”  People with weakened immune systems are the most vulnerable to WNV. Thus, in the long term, aerial spraying may actually increase the number of  people who become seriously ill from WNV. And immune system suppression has serious implications for other diseases as well, including SARS.


6. Long Term Environmental Effects

Most of the pesticides presently used for mosquito control do not selectively target mosquitoes. Insecticides kill all insects. This includes hundreds of beneficial insect species that pollinate crops and keep pests under control.  Fish kills in the thousands have been reported following mosquito spraying. Since some species of fish feed on mosquito larvae, this is doubly counterproductive. Other organisms that feed on mosquito larva are also killed. Bird populations are also threatened. According to New York State wildlife pathologist Ward Stone,  more of the birds sent to his unit for examination in 2000 died from pesticides than from WNV.

7. Keep Risk in Perspective

While the image of a new killer virus from the tropics is scary and makes for good media material, public health experts at all levels are attempting to help people put WNV in perspective. West Nile Virus is less dangerous than the flu. Only 1% of mosquitoes carry the WNV, even in places where WNV has been common for years. Because of our climate, the virus is not expected to overwinter, but would likely be reintroduced each year through bird migration. Less than 1% of people bitten by infected mosquitoes will have any symptoms, and most of those will be equivalent to a one day flu or headache. Studies in New York when WNV was most widespread found thousands of people who tested positive for WNV but had never experienced any symptoms of illness. People bitten by infected mosquitoes, even those who experience no symptoms, will develop a lifetime immunity to the disease. In Africa and Europe, the virus occurs in cycles, with typically three years of human infections in late summer, with the majority of infections in the first year of a cycle. Then the virus fades into the background, and may not reappear for many years.  In Africa, WNV is a childhood disease; adults have developed immunity.

8. Taking a Long-term Approach

WNV may be one of a number of tropical diseases which will spread to our geo- graphic area with global warning. Instead of panic and sensationalism, we need a rational, long term problem-solving approach which is healthy for humans and the environment.  Reducing mosquito breeding sites (standing water), known as source control, is the most effective mosquito control method. Since adult mosquitoes seldom travel more than 1 kilometer, source control in a neighborhood can be extremely effective and quite non-toxic.  Experts stress the value of source controls such as mechanical flushing of sewer catch basins, and introduction of dragonfly larvae in nearby ponds and lakes. These methods have been practiced with great success in Wells, Maine for 26 years.  Maintaining healthy mosquito predator populations is an important part of a mosquito control strategy.  Eliminating mosquito larvae, through predators and biological means and if absolutely necessary via pesticides, is far more effective than trying to kill adult mosquitoes.

Ultimately, the most effective defense against WNV is a healthy ecosystem and a healthy immune system in humans, birds and other species.

Bats, bees and amphibians – Mosquito predators endangered by pesticides.

Bats, bees and amphibians are becoming more susceptible to diseases due to impaired immunity resulting from pesticide exposure.  We humans are also being affected.

Waves of emerging wildlife diseases that are killing huge numbers of insect-eating animals could all be linked to the use of a new class of pesticides, according to a study recently published in the Journal of Environmental Immunology and Toxicology.

Neonicotinoids and related pesticides may be suppressing the immune system of bees, bats and even amphibians, making them much more susceptible to parasites, viruses and fungal infections, the researchers found after comparing geographical patterns of emerging diseases with the use of neonicotinoids.

Insects feeding on the pollen and nectar of crops treated with the pesticides absorb the chemicals and the poison is subsequently passed on to animals higher up the food chain that prey on those bugs, the scientists hypothesized, citing evidence of deviation from normal pathogen-host relationships.

If it sounds familiar, it should — DDT had a similar cascading ecosystem effect, and the impacts from the “new and improved” pesticides could be even more devastating and costly, with the loss of bats and bees hitting the agricultural sector especially hard.