Texas has sicced the Air Force on a post-Hurricane Harvey enemy: mosquitoes.
Airplanes such as this C-130 may soon be seen on post-Hurricane Harvey anti-mosquito aerial spraying missions. The plan is to spray 600,000 acres, mostly outside of the City of Houston limits.
The county will be using C-130 cargo planes from the U.S. Air Force Reserve’s 910th Airlift Wing in San Antonio to drop Dibrom, an EPA-approved pesticide, over wide swaths of northern and southern Harris County, seen in the accompanying map.
All of the standing water left from the storm is the prime place for mosquitoes to lay their eggs and hatch more winged pests.
According to the Harris County Public Health Department, neighborhoods in Katy with 77493, 77494, 77449 and 77450 zip codes will be in the areas to be targeted by the Air Force spraying missions.
“The goal is to reduce the effects mosquitoes are having on recovery efforts and the possibility of a future increase in mosquito-borne disease”, said Harris County public health director Dr. Umair A. Shah. When applied according to label instructions by a licensed professional, it does not pose a health risk to people, pets or the environment.
“For the first time in the almost 70-year history of the Air Force Reserve, all three special mission units have been called to action simultaneously due to a series of catastrophic events that have affected wide swaths of the U.S.”, Air Force Captain Jeff Kelly said in an press statement.
For residents concerned with exposure during the operation, HCPH recommends individuals stay indoors during the evening aerial application in the treated areas, as a precaution. A 2008 study from the American Mosquito Control Association found that residents who lived in an area that was aerially sprayed did not have higher levels of Naled in their system after sprays. To reduce the likelihood of being bitten, residents are encouraged to used a mosquito repellent when outdoors, officials said.
To keep mosquitoes out of the home, make sure all windows and door screes fit tightly and are in good condition.