U.S. Air Force joins mosquito relief effort post Harvey

The Houston area and many other Texas communities are now dealing with the problem of mosquitoes.

SAN ANTONIO - If Hurricane Harvey's massive flooding and devastation wasn't enough, the Houston area and many other Texas communities are now dealing with the problem of mosquitoes.

"The mosquito is the most dangerous animal on the planet," Lt. Col. Mark Breidenbaugh said. "It kills one million people in Africa each year.  We don't have malaria in the U.S., but other diseases we are concerned about."

Breidenbaugh is an entomologist for the 910th Air Wing based out of Youngstown, Ohio.  He says that one female mosquito can lay 100 eggs which can develop in a week and a half.

"You look at an area the size of the area that was flood by Harvey," Texas Health and Human Services spokesperson Chris Van Deusen said, " and I think it became pretty clear we were going to need some more help."

Three C-130s from the 910th Air Wing in Youngstown, Ohio have been housed at Kelly Field in San Antonio for the past two weeks.  At night, when mosquitoes are most active, those planes fly to the Houston Metro area and surrounding counties. Each plane can spray 100,000 acres in one trip.

"We are the only asset in the Department of Defense to accomplish this mission," Lt. Col. David Tancer said. "It makes us feel good to train as hard as we do and do what we do and have a positive impact on the community.

The C-130s used for this mission have been retrofitted with special nozzles that allow them to spray over specific areas chosen by local governments, the Texas Department Health and Human Service, and FEMA.

The cost of the mission is expected to be covered by FEMA. 

© 2017 KENS-TV


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