Spartan Mosquito v. Colin Purrington

AC2T, Inc, a Mississippi company valued at over $100 million, is suing me in Federal court over my review of the Spartan Mosquito Eradicator. The device is a plastic tube filled with sugar, salt, yeast, and water and is purported to act as an attractive toxic sugar bait. Box claims that device will eradicate (kill) approximately 95% of mosquitoes in a yard for 90 days. It is primarily marketed at feed stores in rural areas of the United States. Here’s the company’s complaint (27-page PDF).

Here’s the first part of the motion to dismiss the lawsuit:

“In this lawsuit, Spartan seeks to use its superior financial resources to silence a former college professor who has been exercising his constitutional rights to petition his government and advocate on an important environmental and public health issue: the effectiveness of commercially available mosquito control devices. In Mr. Purrington’s opinion, based upon his personal evaluation of Spartan’s product and his scientific knowledge, Spartan has made false and misleading claims about the efficacy of its product, thereby violating federal environmental regulations and potentially endangering public health. Most of the statements that Spartan cites in the Complaint reflect Mr. Purrington’s efforts to reach federal and state officials with information about Spartan’s misleading and false claims concerning the efficacy of its product. The remaining statements reflect Mr. Purrington’s efforts to raise public awareness of the matters about which he is petitioning, describe his own opinions, or contain facts that Spartan does not, and cannot, deny are true. Applicable law does not provide Spartan with a valid claim against Mr. Purrington under those circumstances. Notably, even if Spartan could show that Mr. Purrington should be liable for his statements, Spartan fails to plead facts that would suggest it has incurred even a cent of damage to its business to justify its claims. That omission suggests that Spartan has sued merely to intimidate Mr. Purrington rather than to recover any demonstrable damage to its business. For those reasons, Mr. Purrington respectfully requests that the Court dismiss the Complaint in its entirety, with prejudice.”

The judge dismissed part of the suit (PDF), but Spartan Mosquito amended its complaint. And we’ve submitted a new motion to dismiss, plus a motion to compel Spartan Mosquito to produce documents (it has been stalling).

I think a big part of why they decided to sue me is that they truly believe I’m being paid by some big pesticide company. The reality, of course, is that I just enjoy writing about sciency things. I have zero funding and have lost money on this blog for over a decade. The other reason they are suing me is probably just plain vindictiveness, anger that the scheme has been revealed to neighbors and the world.

Care to represent me?

I’m urgently looking for an attorney to represent me pro bono (my current lawyer is fantastic but I’ve simply run out of money). If you are a fan of science and dislike bullies, I’d be grateful if you got in touch with me. I can email PDFs of any of these documents if you have an interest. Here’s a listing of the case files:

https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/16600915/ac2t-inc-v-purrington

Here’s a link to Pennsylvania’s anti-SLAPP legislation. It sounds like I would be covered: I was mainly in contact with the Environmental Protection Agency, asking them to act on FIFRA violations. I also encouraged others to contact the EPA because I suspected it would take more than just one person to get the interest of EPA attorneys.

Would also be very excited to discuss a SLAPP-back suit, too. Spartan Mosquito is a $100-million company so has deep pockets. They’ll have plenty of money left even after the $5-million class-action suit is over.

In related news, nobody has started a class-action suit over the Spartan Mosquito Pro Tech (the above-linked suit concerns the Spartan Mosquito Eradicator).

Spartan Mosquito v. Colin Purrington

29 thoughts on “Spartan Mosquito v. Colin Purrington

      1. Jonathan Ayres

        While I appreciate your stance and support free speech I have to tell you that after 60 years, YES 60 years of intense natural gardening in Texas, hot humid mosquito infested, I have over 110 species of plants and 1000 sq ft of vegetable beds——After 60 years of mosquitoes and spending thousands on devices and sprays, this is the FIRST YEAR of my life with NO MOSQUITOES!!!
        I installed 5 tubes of Spartan on my 1 acre plot and within 4 days I had NO MOSQUITOES!! NONE!!
        I am college educated, both my wife and myself have University degrees, hers a Phd and I am also a Master Machinist. We have ZERO reason to lie or inflate. This is what happened and we are stunned to say the least. Regardless of what you think, this works.
        And there is a list of dozens of neighbors who tried this Spartan product with exactly the same results.
        So good luck with the lawsuit—they have no right to suppress your writing—BUT beware that you are on the wrong side of the effectiveness issue. Spartan Mosquito Eradicator works and is incredible.
        You may follow up with at any time if you wish—Manchaca, TX

        Reply
        1. Will

          I feel the exact same way. We live on 6 acres in rural North Carolina and prior to finding Spartan last year, we were looking to move due to the mosquitoes. This is the second year I’ve used them and they work exceptionally well. We literally have NO mosquitoes. Ive purchased and given them to friends and family as well. If Spartan loses, im not sure what we will do. Ill have to attempt to make the mixture myself.

          Reply
        2. Will

          I feel the exact same way. We live on 6 acres in rural North Carolina and prior to finding Spartan last year, we were looking to move due to the mosquitoes. This is the second year I’ve used them and they work exceptionally well. We literally have NO mosquitoes. Ive purchased and given them to friends and family as well. If Spartan loses, im not sure what we will do. Ill have to attempt to make the mixture myself.

          Reply
        3. Mike

          Can you set up a camera to show mosquito’s around the device – especially going into the device? I tried to do so with mine and I never saw a mosquito – just flies and gnats. I wanted to believe mine worked and I thought I was the only one that didn’t get results despite following the directions exactly, but then I found this site and I’m now convinced its a scam.

          Reply
          1. Mike

            Colin,
            I’m afraid I didn’t keep the video. I used a Nest Security Camera which took good high definition video but under my plan the video only was kept for 5 days (& I did it in August). With the motion detection on the highest settings it flagged every fly and bug I saw and it had infrared at night, so that would be a good option if you do more experiments. I’m pretty sure I could have clipped and saved the video, but I just didn’t.

  1. nightsmusic

    You’ve got to be kidding me! I know you’re not, but how ludicrous! You’re entitled to your opinion as is anyone else who has used them. Makes me wonder if they sue anyone on Amazon or any of the other sites that sell their product as well when the review is less than stellar. I’m so sorry.

    Reply
  2. Ingrid

    I encourage you to find a way to keep and document the Amazon reviews now. I had a parallel experience and suspected the plaintiff pressured Amazon to remove negative reviews (or possibly the individual reviewers?) because they disappeared. I have a friend who is a lawyer at the EPA in Atlanta who I talked to in my mosquito-spray research. I am appalled at how much power the pesticide companies have! Please keep us posted with the progress (as you are able) and continue to make us aware of what we may be able to do to help you.

    Reply
  3. McGreggor

    Colin, I agree. After having 4 of these in my yard for two mosquito seasons (keeping them refreshed with the attractant), I concur that there was no drop in our mosquito population.

    Reply
    1. Colin Purrington Post author

      Did you ever contact company for support? “Deployment Specialists” at Spartan Mosquito invariably blame the consumer, telling consumer that they clearly must have deviated from the directions on insert. Or they blame the local water. Etc. Company apparently has a group of people in Texas that are trained in the “Ma’am, you have to follow the directions …” routine. It’s really fascinating.

      Reply
  4. maxwell marshall

    Hi Colin, just one guy’s experience: my spartan eradicator is full of dead flies and mosquitos, so I’m not sure you are correct that it doesn’t work… maybe my results are a fluke, or maybe your results are a fluke. Either way, I’m not sure if you’ll be able to prove whether they work or not unless someone does an empirical controlled study. Either way, I hope you weather this lawsuit; sounds nasty.
    -max marshall

    Reply
    1. Colin Purrington Post author

      Also, if you are using them now, would you mind recording an hour of video for me? I’d love to see evidence of mosquitoes flying around the devices. The company makes frequent warnings that they attract clouds of mosquitoes. I’m skeptical.

      Reply
    2. maxwell marshall

      Correction: after reading some of your other material on this website about how these things attract other species (but not mosquitos), I reexamined my eradicator and found *only flies*. Sorry for the hasty post!

      -max marshall

      Reply
  5. Will

    We live on 6 wooded acres in rural North Carolina. We bought the house in early spring prior to mosquitoes coming out. For 4 years we have been literally eaten alive and were in the process of looking for another home to move to when I found the mosquito eradicator. They began to work immediately and we purchased a total of 10 tubes each of the last two seasons for the two or so acres surrounding our home. We have no mosquitos….AT ALL….NONE! Maybe we have a different species or maybe you didn’t deploy the tubes correctly but for many of us, these are a life saver. If we lose the ability to purchase the eradicator from Spartan, ill try to replicate the formula myself but if they doesn’t work, ill be forced to move. I sincerely hope you lose….you can’t possibly speak for every person in every area with every type of mosquito. They work for use like NOTHING else has….there is no other reason for us to have no mosquitoes

    Reply
      1. Greg Jones

        Hi Colin, I just purchased the product today and the box says the active ingredient is Boric Acid….not sodium chloride. I”m confused. Thanks, Greg

        Reply
        1. Colin Purrington Post author

          When Jeremy Hirsch first introduced the Spartan Mosquito Bomb (soon renamed to Eradicator) to Mississippi in 2015/2016, I think it contained boric acid. But he didn’t have EPA approval for that formulation so sales were not legal … so he switched to table salt (God knows why). But now the company has permission from the EPA to sell a boric-acid version (Spartan Mosquito Pro Tech) and they have stopped making the Spartan Mosquito Eradicator. The newer version also has a lot more sugar. It contains yeast, too. The company doesn’t say what those other ingredients are actually for. A mosquito ingesting boric acid will likely die but I don’t think that’s going to happen given how the device is currently designed. E.g., mosquitoes don’t appear to be interested in the device at all. If you have a spare security camera, please focus it on the holes of the device — you’ll be able to see mosquitoes if they arrive.

          Reply
    1. Neil

      Interesting findings, Will. Can you please provide documentation of any kind to support your claims? It would be very interesting if you could demonstrate what you claim to be true.

      Reply
    2. Max Marshall

      Sir, if you can’t find a single mosquito inside the tube, then they aren’t working. If you can’t provide evidence that they even went into the tube, then there could be a million reasons why you’re getting less mosquitos, but it can’t possibly be this product. I was fooled too. Every year they spray my neighborhood around the time when you are supposed to hang the eradicators. No mosquitos ever went into my traps. Someone show us some pictures or videos or else quit flapping your lips.

      Reply

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