(AP) — It’s an increasingly familiar sight in U.S. cities and suburbs: workers in gloves and masks, spraying yards for mosquitoes. As climate change widens the insect’s range and lengthens its prime season, more Americans are resorting to the booming industry of professional extermination. But the chemical bombardment worries scientists who fear over-use of pesticides is harming pollinators and worsening a growing threat to birds that eat insects. Federal officials report “dramatic” increases in illnesses spread by mosquitoes and other blood feeders, including Zika and West Nile viruses. At the same time, many beneficial insect species are threatened with extinction. Some experts say spraying should be a last resort, after removing breeding sites like standing water.
Photo: (AP Photo/John Flesher)