In January 1958, Rachel Carson received a letter from her friend Olga Owens Huckins. Huckins lived in an area of Massachusetts where the state was trying to get rid of mosquitoes. They had used planes to spray a mixture of fuel oil and DDT (a pesticide, which is something that kills pests such as insects, weeds and rodents) all over the area around Huckins' home. DDT was supposedly harmless but, the morning after the spraying, Huckins found several of her favorite birds dead outside her house. And the spraying did not even kill all of the mosquitoes; in fact, that summer there were more of them than ever before. Huckins asked Carson if she knew someone in Washington who could help prevent future spraying.