Two C-130 Hercules and 50 Air Force
reservists from the 910th Airlift Wing left Youngstown Air Reserve
Station on Sept. 8 to fly aerial spray missions in Alabama,
Louisiana and Mississippi. In coordination with the Federal
Emergency Management Agency and the Centers for Disease Control,
the Air Force Reserve Command crews will spray New Orleans for
insects before working in other areas by Hurricane Katrina.
They will target mosquitoes and filth flies. These insects are
capable of transmitting diseases such as malaria, West Nile virus
and different types of encephalitis. If the insects are not
controlled, the probability of people contracting these diseases
greatly increases, officials said.
The reservists will operate out of Duke Field, Fla., because it
is near hurricane damaged areas and is able to support the aerial
spray mission without conflicting with other relief efforts.
Each aerial spray-modified C-130 is capable of spraying about
60,000 acres per day. The crews fly most of their spray missions at
dusk when the insects are most active.
"The product that will be used to combat the disease-spreading
insects will be Dibrom," said Capt. (Dr.) Karl Haagsma, a research
entomologist with the 910th AW. "It is an extremely effective
material for mosquito control, and at the amounts that are applied,
is an extremely safe material as well.
"Typically, we apply Dibrom at a rate of one-half to 1 ounce per
acre," he said. "When properly applied at these application rates,
(it) is virtually nontoxic to humans, while eliminating a majority
of the flying mosquito population."
Registered with the Environmental Protection Agency, the
chemical is used for many mosquito-control programs nationwide.
Wing officials said they would make every effort to inform the
public about what areas they will spray on a daily basis.
The 910th AW is the only unit in the Department of Defense
tasked to maintain a full-time, fixed-wing aerial spray capability.
It has four modified C-130 aircraft to conduct aerial spray
missions to control insects, vegetation on military installations
and oil spills.
In 1999, three unit C-130s sprayed for 22 days, covering 1.7
million acres of Virginia and North Carolina in the aftermath of
Hurricane Floyd. These missions resulted in a 99-percent kill rate
of mosquitoes. (Courtesy of Air Force Reserve Command News