MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Air Force is joining in the efforts to help control mosquito-borne illnesses bugging South Florida.
The spraying of Miami-Dade County with a very powerful insecticide from a plane has already begun but the plane had to be grounded Wednesday night due to bad weather.
The C130H plane, carrying 90 gallons of the powerful insecticide, plans to be back up in the air around 6 p.m. Thursday evening.
“Hopefully, depending on the weather tonight, we’ve already done the area here over the base and our plan is to be southwest of the base tonight—in Homestead Redlands area,” said Lt. Colonel Frank Galati from the Homestead Air Reserve Base.
The insecticide is being used to help control the spread of dangerous diseases carried by mosquitoes like malaria, west Nile, dengue fever and chikungunya—most recently seen with two cases in South Florida.
Untreated, chikungunya can be deadly. Symptoms include muscle and joint pain, headaches and bleeding of the nose and gums.
While the insecticide helps to control the surge in mosquitoes that is common this time of year in South Florida, there is some concern about the effects of the chemical for people and pets. The Air Force said, however, that the amount sprayed is minimal and safe.
“Application rate is about .5 ounces per acre which equates to about a half a shot glass per football field,” said Lt. Colonel David Tancer with the US Air Force.
Weather permitting, the Air Force said that all spraying should be complete by Thursday evening.
Residents can take part in trying to limit mosquitoes by emptying containers lying around outside that may have collected stagnant water from the rain—like flowerpots and birdbaths.