Insecticide Spraying in Rural Thailand

UPDATE: I’ve added a video to the bottom of this post.

The first time I saw government spraying (fogging, really) in our neighborhood was last year. There was the sound of a lawnmower engine from a block away, and then a man with a backpack sprayer walked by on the street, spraying a dense, white fog over our front yard, which promptly blew through our open windows ala a 1940’s public service announcement/DDT promotion. The cloying stench of RAID remained on the house for a couple hours, and I had to wipe everything down before the kids got back.

Today, we got a twenty minute warning by a pickup truck broadcasting over a PA – “We are spraying for mosquitoes in five minutes. Remove young children from the area!” I started the car, threw the kids in, and Nam drove them to their grandparent’s house in her nightgown. As they pulled out of the driveway, I could hear the backpack sprayer’s engine a few blocks down.

Since we live in what has become a fairly upper-class neighborhood (3 years ago, it was just our house and one other in the middle of fields), many parents are taking heed and evacuating as I write this. And I saw the sprayer go down a side street a few minutes ago, and he had no frolicking entourage ala South Korea. People are smart enough to take this seriously.

The question is, is it necessary? What the local government is most concerned about, of course, is mosquito-borne disease like malaria, dengue fever, West Nile virus, and any number of nasty strains of encephalitis. In fact, the last time we were in the children’s clinic, there were warnings about outbreaks of malaria and Japanese encephalitis somewhere in Maha Sarakham province (but not within 50 km of us). The short answer is, nobody knows for sure.


The sprayer came and went. It is over this year. I have some video I will post later, but both my camera batteries are dead right now. A small gecko just fell off the eaves onto the stairs to our pavilion. He was writhing around for a couple seconds, but now he just looks out of it. Maybe he ate a tainted mozzie.


2 thoughts on “Insecticide Spraying in Rural Thailand

  1. *sigh.* Remember reading Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring” at Oak Grove?
    Good that you and Nam are so proactive. With all the spraying I was exposed to as a kid, it’s a marvel that I’m still okay.
    Now, what was it I was going to do?…..

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