Air Force Called in to Battle Salt-Grass Mosquitoes

10-4-05 - Officials have called in the U.S. Air Force to battle salt-grass mosquitoes, which have been breeding at high rates since Hurricane Rita.

Salt-grass mosquitoes, "the kind that hurt when they bite," are breeding in some areas at more than 10 times the normal rate, Jefferson County Commissioner Mark Domingue said Monday.

The mosquitoes are attacking workers _ even during the day _ while they try to restore power and repair damage from the storm, Domingue said.

"They are just really suffering," he said.

So East Texas officials have enlisted the Air Force and its C-130 Hercules aircraft to spray dibrom pesticide in the evenings. County aircraft will spray a permethrin-based insecticide diluted with water in the mornings.

The Air Force has also agreed to take on the dense swarms of mosquitoes in nearby Cameron Parish in Louisiana. The insects are blown across Sabine Lake into Jefferson County or are attracted by refinery lights there, Domingue said.