Hurricane Harvey

Health Official Says Anti-Mosquito Aerial Spraying Was Successful In Harris County

The insecticide that was used is registered with the EPA, but it is banned in Europe.

Doctor Mustapha Debboun, who is in charge of the Mosquito Control division at Harris County’s Department of Public Health, says the spraying was at least 80 percent effective in Harris County.
Dr. Mustapha Debboun (first from right), who is in charge of the Mosquito Control division at Harris County’s Department of Public Health, says the spraying was at least 80 percent effective in Harris County.

This week, Texas completed its aerial spraying for mosquitoes, which was focused on curbing a potential surge of the mosquito population after Harvey, and health officials say the operation has been successful in Harris County.

State and county health officials say the large areas Harvey’s rainfall and flooding created for mosquitoes to lay eggs made the spraying necessary, especially considering these insects can carry diseases such as the West Nile and Zika viruses, as well as Dengue and Chikungunya.

Dr. Mustapha Debboun, who is in charge of the Mosquito Control division at Harris County’s Department of Public Health, notes the spraying was at least 80 percent effective.

That assessment is based on what experts call landing counts, meaning how many mosquitoes land on a person before and after the insecticide is sprayed.

Debboun gives the example of what they found at Telge Park, in the Cypress area.

“Before, my technicians were getting 120 mosquitoes per minute, the next day, after the spray, they were getting one mosquito per minute,” Debboun told Houston Public Media.

Mosquitoes can reproduce in very small amounts of water, for instance what fits in a bottle cap, and therefore health officials say the spraying was the most effective way to deal with the widespread standing water after Harvey.

The insecticide used for the spraying is called Naled and it has been registered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) since 1959.

Because of the small amounts used for aerial spraying, which is about one to two tablespoons per acre, the EPA says it is not considered dangerous for people, but the product is banned in Europe.

Share