Cocktail of chemicals controls mosquitos after the storm

A U.S. Air Force Reserve C-130H Hercules with the 910th Airlift Wing

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO – The Air Force Reserve Command’s 910th Airlift Wing sprayed over one million acres since arriving in Texas Sept. 8 to start the mosquito control application in areas of eastern Texas assisting with Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts.

The 910th operates the Department of Defense’s only large area, fixed-wing aerial spray capability to control pest insect populations, eliminate undesired, invasive vegetation and disperse oil spills in large bodies of water.

More than 90 Reserve Citizen Airmen based at Youngstown Air Reserve Station, Ohio are working from Kelly Field Annex. The team consists of Citizen Airmen from the 910th’s Aerial Spray Flight, Aerial Spray Maintenance Flight, Operations Support Squadron, Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, Maintenance Squadron, Force Support Squadron, and Logistics Readiness Squadron. The 502nd Operations Support Squadron based at the Kelly Field Annex and the Air Force Reserve’s 433rd Maintenance Group based at Lackland Air Force Base are also providing invaluable support to the aerial spray mission.

Due to large amounts of standing, polluted water, the number of pest insects have increased significantly. This situation is impacting first responders and recovery workers with nearly 100 mosquito bites per minute as clean-up and repair efforts continue.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) have requested the support of the 910th to treat potentially millions of affected acres. Authorities requested DoD support because the scope of the disaster is beyond the capacity of available civilian mosquito control resources.

Since the 910th started mosquito control aerial spray operations Sept. 9, , they have significantly reduced the number of bites to less than five per minute.

The 910th conducts aerial spray missions at dusk and nighttime hours using night vision technology when pest insects are most active.

Residents should not be alarmed to see large, low flying military aircraft over areas being treated during overnight hours.

AFRC’s 910th Airlift Wing aerial spray mission uses only Environmental Protection Agency registered materials. Aerial spray is a highly controlled application of the required material using a specially designed Modular Aerial Spray System; applying no more than one ounce per acre. That’s less than one shot glass of material for an area the size of a football field.

For this mosquito control mission, the DSHS has selected a material called naled. According to the EPA, this material is effective in amounts not large enough to cause any concern for the health of humans, including children and pregnant women, or pets.

The 910th’s aerial spray capability was used for pest insect control during disaster recovery efforts by treating more than 2.8 million acres in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005 as well as after Hurricane Gustav in 2008. The 910th’s aerial spray oil dispersant capability was used in the aftermath of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Hurricane Harvey aerial spray operations are expected to significantly surpass previous missions in the scope of areas treated by the Air Force Reserve.

The Air Force Reserve is comprised of nearly 70,000 Reserve Citizen Airmen and will continue to innovate new ways in vital areas of defense to protect the United States.

On any given day, nearly 6,000 Reserve Citizen Airmen are serving on active duty worldwide in support of combatant commanders and other agencies and major commands.