C-130s to Spray for Mosquitoes in Louisiana’s Coastal Parishes

September 23, 2008

Air Force C-130s will start flying low over south Louisiana to spray for mosquitoes hatched in floodwaters left by the storm surge from Hurricane Ike.

The first spraying will be over Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes and Grand Isle, the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals and the Federal Emergency Management Agency said in separate news releases.

“Spraying will pose no threat to humans, animals or plants, but will be significant enough to kill mosquitoes and filth flies, which pose a potential health threat,” the health department said.

The big, gray planes will fly as low as 150 feet from the ground, and each C-130 can spray about 80,000 acres a day, according to DHH.

The flights will take place during the last two hours of daylight, when mosquitoes and flies are most active. Bees are unlikely to be out during those hours, but beekeepers should still protect their hives, the health department said.

The C-130 spraying is available to parishes affected by storm surge from Hurricane Ike.

Parts of lower Lafourche and Grand Isle that don’t get sprayed on Friday will be sprayed on Saturday, along with Plaquemines Parish and the Jean Lafitte area of Jefferson Parish.

FEMA said St. Mary Parish will be sprayed on Sunday, and Iberia may also be sprayed that day.

The health department says the insecticide, dibrom, is widely used to control mosquitoes Louisiana.

The amount of pesticide used is about the equivalent of a shot glass over a football field, DHH said. It “will in no way ‘rain’ down on residents,” but people who don’t want any exposure at all could wear long sleeves and pants outside or stay inside, the agency said.

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