The following information was provided by GOHSEP:
BATON ROUGE, La. (GOHSEP) – Heavy rains from Hurricanes Laura and Delta have created large areas in southwest Louisiana for mosquitoes to lay their eggs.
To address the increasing number of mosquitoes and the risk they pose to recovery efforts, the Governor’s Office for Homeland Security and Emergency Management (GOHSEP) and the Louisiana Department of Health applied for and received approval from the Federal Emergency for additional mosquito control assistance Management Agency. The request was made last Wednesday after data indicated that local mosquito spraying efforts after successive hurricanes failed to adequately address the area. FEMA approved the plan on Friday.
Airborne mosquito spraying begins Tuesday evening over the communities of Acadia, Calcasieu, Cameron, Iberia, Jefferson Davis, Lafayette, and Vermilion. Additional parishes can be added to this mission as more information is gathered. U.S. Air Force C-130 planes will begin low altitude spraying at dusk on Tuesday, when mosquitoes are most active. The first mission is expected to take around six days, depending on the weather and other factors.
Most of the mosquitoes that appear after flooding are pesky mosquitoes that usually don’t spread disease, but can have serious effects on recovery operations by keeping emergency responders and disaster-affected people out. Areas of stagnant water can also increase the number of mosquitoes, which can spread diseases like the West Nile virus.
Airborne insecticides are the most effective way to quickly reduce the number of mosquitoes in a large area and pose no risk to people, pets, or other animals. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, people may prefer to stay indoors and close windows and doors when spraying, but this is not necessary.
Applications are carried out from dusk when the mosquitoes are most active and after the bees have returned to their hives for the night. The insecticides dissolve in the environment and break down quickly. If bees appear in daylight, they are not affected. Although this type of application does not cause significant exposure to bees, beekeepers can cover their colonies and prevent bees from exiting during treatment.
People can help control mosquitoes during recovery efforts by draining stagnant water in their homes and businesses and using a commercially available larvicide in water that cannot be drained. People should also avoid mosquito bites by using an EPA registered mosquito repellent every time they go outside and making sure their window and door panes are in good condition after the storm to keep mosquitos out of the home.
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