2010-05-21 / Columnists

Historical Views of the Rockaways

This Summer BUZZZzzzzz! In The Rockaways, That Sound Does Not Mean that The Green Hornet Is Coming!
From The Rockaway Museum Commentary by Emil Lucev, Curator Dedicated To The Memory Of Leon S. Locke

The pesky mosquito has always been around in the Rockaways, and if you had a dollar for every remedy or repellent that has been on the market, you could retire!

The most famous Indian remedy was to rub skunk juice on your body, but I do not believe the public would appreciate that. Oil of citronella was a pleasant repellent, and Henry was always on hand to get the “Flit.”

About a century ago, one local program for the great breeder of the unliked was to cut drainage ditches in the bay marshes, to prevent breeding pools from lingering atop the bay islands. On land it was the norm to spray a light coat of petroleum distillates over pooled water in empty and weed-covered lots.

Mother Nature has always supplied us with natural mosquito predators, like frogs, birds, dragonflies, and the like.

But the greatest of all was – DDT – a spray that was invented in World War II.

DDT was widely used the world over… that is… until a book called “The Silent Spring” written by a Rachel Carlson brought out the damaging effect on the local environment wherever DDT was used. Plants and wildlife were being destroyed at an alarming rate. As a result DDT was eliminated and then replaced by substitute sprays. Many of these were frowned upon by the public!

On the left border of the postcard view published today is the big lie of the century.

Do you have a solution for getting rid of the pesky mosquito? Send it in so others can use it! No smoky fires, please!

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