RALEIGH, N.C. - The Air Force has been tasked to help the state to control the mosquito outbreak caused by Hurricane Floyd floodwaters.
Standing pools of water left by the storm are ideal breeding grounds for the fast-multiplying pests. As a result, the ferocious mosquito infestation has impeded recovery workers and tormented returning residents.
A specially modified C-130H cargo plane has been assigned to spray 880,000 acres in 12 counties. The state effort calls for 3.5 million acres to be sprayed in more than 28 counties in the next two weeks.
The first Air Force spraying will take place in Edgecombe County between 3 and 7p.m, Thursday afternoon, weather permitting. This will be the only spraying required under present plans. Nash County is scheduled to be sprayed on October 8th.
The large propeller-driven aircraft will be flying very low at about 150 feet, and will make 4-8 passes over the area in order to assure complete coverage. Officials emphasized that the spraying is an effort to control a public nuisance and that the mosquitoes pose no health hazard.
Residents are requested to bring their children and pets indoors and remain there while the plane makes repeat passes over the area. Ground personnel will monitor the coverage area during the spraying operation.
Officials said the spraying will consist of light doses of mosquito-control chemicals that pose no danger to residents. The spraying is being conducted at the request of the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources as part of the joint state/federal Hurricane Floyd disaster recovery effort.