Lies, Damned Lies, and Lyme Disease

Having voted to spend tens of thousands of dollars pandering to unscientific hysteria over Lyme disease, the all-Republican Board of Supervisors in Loudoun County is now following its usual modus operandi when confronted with the facts about its irresponsible actions:

(a) Blame the media

(b) Lie

Last spring the county conducted a scientifically ridiculous and environmentally disastrous blunderbuss application of pesticides to nine county parks as part of a supposed assault on Lyme-carrying ticks. The scientific studies that have been done to date have shown spraying an unproven approach to reducing Lyme disease transmission, but they also unequivocally recommend that if you absolutely feel you have to spray it is totally pointless to spray areas where ticks are not found, including open fields. The Connecticut State Experiment Station’s guide to tick management clearly states that spraying should be confined to a strip “several yards” into wooded areas that adjoin open fields and that “spraying of open fields and lawns is not necessary.”

Instead, the county sprayed hundreds of acres of open fields as well as a border 50 feet wide along wooded margins. Had they followed the guidelines, only about 6 acres would have been treated in total at the 9 parks — instead of the 196 they actually hosed down.

Now the Board is tripping over itself to continue the pointless spraying program. Supervisor Geary Higgins (R-Catoctin), declaring that up is down, black is white, and truth is fiction, stated last month:

“I think there is misunderstanding that we are spraying acres and acres, and we are not just spraying the perimeters to keep the ticks out of the fields.”

Gee, I wonder how we got that “misunderstanding”? Could it just possibly be because that’s exactly what you guys did last spring? Perhaps a picture, courtesy of the Loudoun Parks Department, showing what was actually sprayed in Mickie Gordon Park – the overwhelming majority “acres and acres” of open fields, will help. (That red hatched area is labeled in the key “Open areas to be sprayed”). In all of the other eight parks it was exactly the same story too:

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