Tag Archives: toxic

Alternative lawns sign for Mosquito Shield

If you give presentations on the non-target effects of pyrethroid mosquito sprays, here are some modified lawn signs to download and use. I’ve based them on an actual sign from Mosquito Shield, below.

Mosquito Shield lawn sign

First, here’s a sign that simply has an additional part that shows the name and molecular structure one of the two chemicals used by Mosquito Shield (they also use cyfluthrin). It would be nice to have signs like this because it educates neighbors on what is actually in these types of sprays (the companies don’t like to disclose).

Mosquito Shield lawn sign with active ingredient listed

Here’s a mocked-up sign that informs neighbors that the homeowner has also eliminated his/her butterfly and moth problem.

Butterfly Shield lawn sign

Here’s a Firefly Shield sign. It’s really the only beetle people care about and, unfortunately, the numbers of fireflies is plummeting. There are thousands of other beetle species in a typical backyard and none deserves to be dosed with a neurotoxin.

Firefly Shield lawn sign

Spiders are also killed by Mosquito Shield sprays. I suspect many people would see this is a plus but spiders are likely important predators of mosquitoes … and spiders are not hurting humans.

Spider Shield lawn sign

Many bird species depend on insects and spiders to feed themselves and their young, so when you hire Mosquito Shield to nuke your yard you are indirectly reducing the numbers of birds that can survive in an area. I think few homeowners realize this, and Mosquito Shield (and other companies) are unlikely to spell out that consequence.

Bird Shield lawn sign

Finally, pyrethroids get washed into nearby bodies of water and end up killing fish. This might be rare in towns where there is just one person who subscribes to Mosquito Shield … but if everyone in town decided to get sprayed the fish would really take a hit.

Fish Shield lawn sign

More details here.

Serpentine!

Photographs from some local serpentine barrens — areas that are naturally toxic due to the magnesium, cobalt, nickel, chromium, asbestos, other nasties leaching out from the green serpentine rocks (California’s state rock). Serpentine soil is also famously low in phosphorous and potassium, so not many plants can grow on it.  Here’s a typical patch of rock (from Nottingham pine barrens in Pennsylvania):

At the Nottingham serpentine barrens in Chester County.

Below is a close-up of the rocks themselves.  I liked the central rock because of its serpentine (wavy, snakelike) marbling. From Pink Hill barrens at the Tyler Arboretum in Media, Pennsylvania.

Here’s a view of a serpentine barrens at Nottingham barrens.  If you were to take a close look at these pines, a lot of them have scorched bark from a recent prescribed burn that was conducted to restore native plants to the area.

At the Nottingham serpentine barrens in Chester County.

The flower below is moss phlox (Phlox subulata) at Pink Hill.  The plant is absolutely adorable.  I’m a sucker for any plant that assumes a moss-like habit.

Colin Purrington Photography: Tyler Arboretum &emdash; Moss phlox (Phlox subulata).

Below is a close-up of some sort of sedge, possibly Pennsylvania sedge (Carex pensylvanica), but I didn’t have any fruit so I can’t be sure (tentative ID courtesy Dr Roger Latham of Dr Roger Latham at Continental Conservation).  But I’m positive it’s adorable, though not mossy in habit.  Photograph also from Pink Hill barrens.

Richardson's sedge (Carex richardsonii), I think. Happy to be corrected.

More serpentine photographs here.