UPDATE: Inclement Weather Delays Aerial Spraying Until Friday, Nov. 6 – Weather Permitting
Richland County Vector Control is coordinating aerial mosquito treatments beginning at dusk Tuesday, weather permitting, to treat more than 100,000 acres in Lower Richland.
The aerial application is scheduled for two nights, weather permitting – Tuesday and Wednesday.
This application is being done in response to recent flooding, which has caused a surge in mosquito populations. Aerial applications have been used in Texas in recent years to stem West Nile Virus outbreaks and are highly effective in reducing floodwater mosquito populations.
The product used in this application, Dibrom, is registered for use with the Environmental Protection Agency for use in mosquito population control and poses no undue risks to humans or the environment. Dibrom is applied at low dosage rates using specialized equipment that automatically adjusts for aircraft speed, altitude and wind speed.
Residents do not need to take any special precautions during the treatment. However, area beekeepers are urged to cover their hives during the application period.
This week’s mission will be the first time Richland County has used aerial mosquito treatment. Planes are scheduled to take off Tuesday from the County’s Jim Hamilton-L.B. Owens Airport at about dusk to apply Dibrom across 114,000 acres in Lower Richland.
The aircraft used in this operation, piloted and managed by Dynamic Aviation, are King Air Beechcraft fixed-wing, dual-engine planes. They are specially equipped with nozzles on the wings.
The planes will apply Dibrom in amounts of .75 ounces per acre, the equivalent of 1.5 tablespoons of active ingredient per acre. Technology on board the aircraft automatically adjusts the flow rate to factor changes in wind speed, direction, altitude, etc. Droplets are precisely configured to interact with the biology of the mosquito, and the application is not expected to affect beneficial insects, pets or people.
People may see planes overhead, but the planes could be treating areas miles away.
Residents who have questions about the aerial treatments may contact Richland County Vector Control at 803-576-2425 or the Richland County Ombudsman at 803-929-6000.
Vector Control officials urge residents to help combat the increased mosquito activity by emptying any standing water on their property and using protective measures such as wearing long sleeves and using repellents according to the label.