4

State Investigating Homeowner for Using Mothballs as Snake Deterrent; Use Caution With Pesticides, Official Urge

^
Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Phoenix and help keep the future of New Times free.

A homeowner in Mohave County faces a possible citation and fine for allegedly using mothballs outdoors as a snake deterrent.

The looming enforcement action for suspected misuse of pesticides is the only case that Jack Peterson, acting director of the Arizona Department of Agriculture, can recall that involved an average resident. Usually, says Peterson -- a 16-year employee of the agency -- the state targets companies or unlicensed pest-control operators for that sort of thing.

Though catching someone suspected of pesticide misuse is a "rare beast," the mothball case spurred the agency to issue a public advisory on Friday. (See below for a link.)

The agency received a complaint about the mothballs in mid-September by the accused offender's neighbor, Peterson says.

Peterson declined to give more details about the case, citing the pending investigation.

The mothball abuser could be fined $1,000 per violation under the law, but Peterson tells New Times that "in all likelihood" the fine in this case will be $500 or less.

That's a lot of dough for tossing a few mothballs outside, but the law isn't just there for grins: A pet or small child could find and eat the mothballs, which are highly toxic.

True, the offending homeowner was probably trying to protect against rattlesnakes, which can also hurt pets and people. However, scientists say that mothballs do not repel snakes.

For questions about the use of pesticides or to snitch on someone who's misusing them, call the Ag Department at (602) 542-0901.

Click here for a copy of the department's news release on pesticides.

Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.