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Aerial mosquito spraying continues over JBLE

By Nicholas J. De La Peña 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs


A second round of mosquito aerial spraying at Langley Air Force Base and Craney Island, occurred Aug. 29, 2018, in support of mosquito prevention efforts by the 633rd Civil Engineer Squadron pest management.

The spraying is part of the Joint Base Langley-Eustis’ ongoing partnership with the 757th Airlift Squadron of the 910th Airlift Wing from Youngstown Air Reserve Station, Ohio, to minimize vector borne diseases.

This spraying was already coordinated before the report confirming West Nile virus from Langley entomology in a specimen collected Aug. 21, 2018.

“By partnering with the 757th AS our goal is to lessen the threats from disease transmitting species, like mosquitos,” said Lt. Col. Jeremy Oldham, 633rd CES commander. “The 633rd CES helps facilitate much needed coordination to ensure the safety of our service member’s ability to support the warfighting mission.”

According to Mitch Burcham, 633rd CES pest management technician, pest control runs tests twice a week on captured mosquitos to determine if there are any vector borne diseases such as West Nile virus.

“We actively provide control measures to help eliminate the mosquito population,” Burcham said. “Public health and entomology personnel use a variety of mosquito traps to collect and identify mosquitoes.”

Burcham noted that when the number of recorded mosquitos reaches a certain threshold, various tactics to eradicate the mosquito population are coordinated with the 757th AS, such as aerial spraying.

According to U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Karl Haagsma, 757th AS, mission commander, the team sprays an Environmental Protection Agency approved mosquito adulticide chemical called Trumpet EC at 300 feet from a specially modified U.S. Air Force
C-130 Hercules, which is equipped with a Modular Aerial Spray System.

The MASS system can hold up to 2,000 gallons of insecticide or herbicide and disperses it using finely tuned spray bars under each wing.  A technician also monitors and controls the rate and flow of droplets released as the 757th AS crew utilize GPS satellites to accurately navigate and spray identified areas.

“The insects that actually transmit vector borne diseases fly at night, so we try to kill them when they’re most active.” said Haagsma. “When they’re up in the air that’s when they’ll actually be effected by the aerosol.”

The 757th AS crew say the amount that is sprayed is small and dispersed as a fine mist making the risk for human exposure extremely low.

“It’s like taking a shot glass (of chemical) and spraying that amount of material over a football field,” said Haagsma.

According to 633rd CES pest management, after the aerial spray, traps indicated the spray was effective and as of Tuesday no positives for West Nile virus have been found for Langley Air Force Base.

Mosquito prevention remains a top priority for the 633rd CES and for entomologists tracking their numbers to coordinate partner support.

The 633rd CES pest management will conduct mosquito fogging operations weekly starting Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018.

Fogging will be conducted throughout industrial and residential areas of the base, and Bethel Housing between the hours of 7:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m.

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