From Bugs to Eternity

I’m really worried about the bug spray people.

For one thing, they’re risking their lives. After all, North Shore residents have been instructed to stay inside during the spraying, to avoid breathing in the poison. But the sprayers are out there, and even with special training, you can only hold your breath so long. Maybe they wear gas masks, I don’t know. I hope so.

But beyond that, they’re going to be exhausted. In Ipswich, for example, the Town’s Public Health Department announced on Thursday that the spraying would be conducted “starting at 6:45 p.m. and ending when the temperature drops below 56 degrees Fahrenheit.”

But with our recent unseasonably warm temps, those crews could be trapped out there for days on end. If the overnight temps only get down to 57 or 58, you’re going to see bleary-eyed workers driving around for days. If you see Town trucks zigzagging unsteadily, stay clear, whatever you do. These guys can’t be held responsible for their driving.

Eventually they have to run out of bug spray — unless, to fulfill the 56-degree cutoff rule, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts sends in helicopters to refuel the trucks while they keep working, like those aerial tankers that stick a mosquito-like probe into an F-16 in flight. That should be something to see! Except you’re not supposed to be outside till they’re done spraying. To be safe, wait for the video on Facebook.

During the crisis — I mean the spray-truck-driving marathon — please respond with compassion. If you happen to look out your living room window and you see a spray truck careening down the road, occasionally crossing the center line or clipping mailboxes, be a good citizen. Wave the driver over, take a deep breath, run a few sandwiches out to the crew, and hurry back inside. If you hold your breath through it all, you’ll probably survive. And you’ll be keeping our intrepid bug spray people alive, to spray another day.

Thank you, and God bless America.


Doug Brendel lives locked up in an airtight antique house on outer Linebrook Road in Ipswich. Follow him here at by clicking “Follow,” and at


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