June 15, 2012

I was disappointed to see Thomas Heath’s Value Added column extolling the virtues of the Mosquito Squad [“Mosquito-control business scratches this entrepreneur’s itch,” Washington Business, June 11].

No doubt there is profit to be made; the franchisee featured in the article anticipates clearing a $300,000 profit this year. But at what expense? Heath concluded his column by saying that after a visit by the Mosquito Squad, “there wasn’t a bug in sight.” In other words, not only were there no mosquitoes but presumably no bees, no butterflies, and no other insects or spiders, which are beneficial to the environment. And what of the birds and other wildlife that eat the bugs? What will happen to them?

We should cherish beneficial insects, birds and other wildlife. For people tormented by mosquitoes, I suggest a simple remedy: Remove or circulate all standing water. Mosquito larvae thrive in stagnant pools, even the tiny ones created when a flower pot is left out in the rain. If people would be vigilant about getting rid of standing water (or would welcome wildlife that feed on mosquitoes), we could go a long way toward eliminating this nuisance in a natural way.

Deborah A. Vollmer, Chevy Chase

Thomas Heath’s column spoke volumes about the fact that some people are willing to kill nearly all insects, beneficial or not, in an effort to curb the ever-present population of pesky ticks and mosquitoes.

I am all for the free enterprise and entrepreneurship reflected in the success story of Damien Sanchez, who owns a Mosquito Squad franchise. But what happens to beloved pollinators such as the tiger swallowtail, the state insect of Virginia, or the transient Monarch butterfly as they pass through neighborhood gardens?

What happens to natural predators such as ladybugs and praying mantises? What will bats have to eat? Where will honeybees find the untainted nectar they need to create our prized local honey? I suggest we end indiscriminate killing of most insects and apply a bug repellent to ourselves and our pets. Let the bugs live in all of our yards.

Bruce Roberts, Alexandria

Tired of all those pesky songbirds rattling around in your yard? Relax! There is a solution! For just $89, Value Added columnist Thomas Heath hired a mosquito-control company to get rid of all the bugs those birds like to eat.

I thought that The Post had mistakenly run a 50-year-old article, but not so. Exactly half a century after Rachel Carson published “Silent Spring,” we still have business writers and homeowners who get excited about the miracle of annihilating every inconvenient creature on the planet.

Caroline Emmet Heald, Alexandria