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The Bombing Begins Friday: 2 Planes Will Spray Entirety of Flagler To Kill Billions Of Post-Irma Mosquitoes

| September 22, 2017

One of the two Clarke Mosquito Control turboprop planes that will fly over Flagler over the next two nights was parked at the Flagler County Executive Airport late this afternoon. A second was joining it at 6:30 p.m. (© FlaglerLive)

One of the two Clarke Mosquito Control turboprop planes that will fly over Flagler over the next two nights was parked at the Flagler County Executive Airport late this afternoon. A second was joining it at 6:30 p.m. (© FlaglerLive)

In the cosmos nebulas are nurseries where billions of stars are born. In Florida, certainly in Flagler, ditches, swales, bird feeders, old tires collecting water, ponds, lakes and all those expanses of standing water left behind by the drenching of Hurricane Irma are nurseries where billions of mosquitoes are born.

Those billions have started invading: a sample analysis of traps by the East Flagler Mosquito Control District shows this week’s population spiking to two to three times the population of the four previous weeks. Since Irma drenched the west side of the county as well, that area is swarming with mosquitoes, too.

To stop the swarms, Flagler County government, the East Mosquito Control District and the Florida Department of Agriculture have teamed up to send two planes airborne tonight and tomorrow essentially to carpet-bomb Flagler’s mosquito populations everywhere from the ocean the western  border of Flagler County—well beyond the eastern zone the Mosquito Control District is responsible for.

You will hear and possibly see the bombers, two Beechcraft King Air turboprop planes that’ll be spraying from low altitude the insecticide naled (about which you can learn plenty from the Environmental Protection Agency here), starting tonight. “In recent years,” the EPA states, “naled has been applied by aerial spraying to about 16 million acres per year within the mainland United States as part of routine mosquito control. Naled has been used in highly populated major metropolitan areas as well as agricultural and more rural areas.”

One of the two King Air planes was parked at the Flagler County Executive Airport late this afternoon, contracted from Clarke Mosquito Control, an Illinois-based company. The second plane was expected at 6:30 p.m. East Mosquito Control will not be flying the planes, but it will be sending its trucks along certain routes to spray, and after the planes’ spraying, which will cover the county in two nights, mosquito control will mop up where necessary, using trucks and its helicopter, Mosquito Control Director Mark Positano said.

The way the planes got here was after County Administrator Craig Coffey and Positano had a conversation Monday about the impending mosquito invasion, which Coffey himself was beginning to notice, and how to counter it.  The state told Coffey and Positano that they were waiting for the swarms to start hitting before responding. But Coffey said it was better to pre-empt the invasion.

Mark Positano, the district's second in command. (© FlaglerLive)

Mark Positano, director of the East Flagler Mosquito Control District. (© FlaglerLive)

It takes 14 days for mosquitoes to take flight after the larval stage, which begins in mosquito eggs’ equivalent of a womb: any kind of standing water, even water as shallow as an inch. The eggs will hatch in a matter of days, the larvae will wiggle around for a dozen days after that, growing into the mosquito that will glory through a life of a few weeks before dying. The hotter the days, the quicker the metamorphosis into a mosquito. Irma struck 11 days ago, so the 14-day mark when the mosquito population is set to explode is imminent.

“What we did is I reached out with my contacts with the Department of Agriculture to really get it moving quicker so when we hit the numbers we were ready to do,”  Coffey said.

The county and the mosquito control district had done something similar in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, which left much less water in the region, and in 2004, when maps were devised to plan the assault. (Unfortunately, the map posted on Mosquito Control’s website is very small.) Those maps are being used again this time. And for the East Flagler Mosquito Control District, being part of the response is an opportunity to show the agency in a brighter light after a summer of financial disarray and shake-ups at the top of the organization.

The Hurricane Matthew assault had cost about $40,000, Coffey said. The next two days’ assault will cost closer to $100,000, though the county will not have to front the money, much of which is expected to be reimbursed by the Federal Emergency Management Administration. The source of the money appears to be the state Department of Agriculture. “I’ve not been asked to front any money,” Coffey said. “This has been directly through the Department of Agriculture.”

Bob Snyder, the director of Flagler County’s Health Department, spoke of the battle against mosquitoes on WNZF’s Free For All Fridays this morning. “The mantra is drain and cover,” Snyder said. “Of course when you’re outside wear shoes, socks, long pants, long sleeves, and use insect repellant.”  Following those two rules should help protect residents, he said.

 “We’re very grateful for the assistance of the health department and the county to really aggressively pursue some of these health and safety issues that we’re now facing,”  Palm Coast Mayor Milissa Holland said. Nate McLaughlin, chairman of the County Commission, spoke of the west side still being under water and breeding mosquitoes.

“I don’t think there’s any mosquito rights groups that are going to say No, we have to stop the slaughter of innocent mosquitoes,” David Ayres, the show’s host, said. Then he added: “Or there might be.”

Actually, there is, but not in Flagler. A similar assault was planned against the mosquito hordes in Clay County until the Clay County Commission, after receiving hundreds of emails from residents protesting the spraying, cancelled the planned air raids. Instead, the county’s agriculture extension office will be using slow-moving trucks to do spraying along 1,400 miles of roads.

Coffey said he is not aware of any local opposition to the aerial spraying.

Positano described the type of mosquito the aerial spraying will target as “very aggressive,” the sort that can fly up to five miles in a single night. “There’s a good chance will kill a majority of the mosquito for several days,” Positano said.

The spraying is expected between 8 .m. and 5 a.m. over the next two nights.

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47 Responses for “The Bombing Begins Friday: 2 Planes Will Spray Entirety of Flagler To Kill Billions Of Post-Irma Mosquitoes”

  1. Linda Johnsen says:

    I am personally appalled that there was no notice of this that I saw posted.
    There is no map and approximate times for any areas to be sprayed that I
    have seen.. How many people will be out walking their dog?. How many
    children will be playing? How many people are taking their evening walk?
    Think about this and the other scenarios. Wildlife, The turtles, the helpful
    insects, etc…
    Clay County was obviously on top of this. How fortunate they are to minimize
    the dangerous effects to a minimum if there is a such thing. Pregnant women
    beware, people with breathing issues, and the worst is the innocent non human
    creatures that will suffer…
    Honestly, I could go on and on, however, I’m spending time warning everyone I know.
    Naled!!! Seriously.. How about Roundup, Seven, and toss in some mustard gas just
    for kicks.

  2. Beach Dude says:

    I would love to see the map that is referred to in this article. I definitely would like to not be outside standing in the middle of a drop zone when most likely cancer causing chemicals are being sprayed on my head! Where can I find that information?

  3. Marlee says:

    STOP spraying banned chemical…Naled!

    Pesticide Sprayed Over Wynwood Is Banned in Europe, May Also Harm Fetuses
    Naled (trade name Dibrom) is an organophosphate with many of the same characteristics and concerns as malathion. Naled can cause cholinesterase inhibition in humans: that is, it can over stimulate the nervous system causing nausea, dizziness, confusion, and at high exposures, can cause respiratory paralysis and death. One of the byproducts of degradation of Naled is dichlorvos, another registered organophosphate. This compound is of toxicological concern.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Amen! Do it more often to prevent Zeka cases

  5. Terrance says:

    What chemicals will be included in this spray? Are there any know allergens? What are side effects of the chemicals sprayed?

  6. Eddie Cail says:

    I’m all for this one..

    I work outside and have been helping with recovery in a lot of the flooded areas. It has been absolutely miserable.

    Before anyone asks yes we use Cutter or Off. Or whatever the choice of poison is. That stuff is somewhat effective but nasty to you as well. I can’t wait to get home and shower every day. Yuck..

    I understand it’s nature and all that but you can def tell a difference in the mosquito population this year. I hope this helps to scale it back some.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Why can’t we just live in harmony with nature. Mosquitos are living creatures just like us. Why can’t we all just get Along? Why must our first reaction always be death and destruction to our perceived enemies? Take Japan for instance, once they were perceived as our enemy and we nuked them twice and now they are our biggest ally in that region of the world. let’s just all live together in peace. How about a group hug?

  8. Anonymous says:

    Make sure you get all of the “P” section. Specifically, the developments off of Point Pleasant. There is a lot of standing water. We are getting eaten alive. Thank you!

  9. Old Lady says:

    Bout time

  10. smarterthanmost says:

    Did they ever find the money?

  11. r&r says:

    I hope some of if drifts over to Halifax golf course were they’re terrible.

  12. Steven says:

    BOMBS AWAY!!!!!!!!!!!!

  13. thomas says:

    GOOD INITIATIVE! Thank you.

  14. mark101 says:

    Please hurry the misquotes are eating us alive AHAH ! So many diseases being carried by mosquitoes these days and with all the standing water in lots and culverts and flooded property its like a war zone out there. Spray away.

  15. Trailer Bob says:

    “I say lets just draw a “red line” that they are not allowed to cross over, and if they do there will be hell to pay”…Barrack.

  16. P. H. says:

    Yes, I agree with the other post, We The Innocent People, not “innocent mosquitoes” per David Ayres sarcastic comment, We should get information of the poison is sprayed. There is not enough info about it but I will make sure my small child has no contact outdoors for few days, windows closed etc. On the other hand I am not oppose mosquito control, just in more mild and thoughtful form.

  17. Shark says:

    Just a waste of money like the hundreds of thousands spent on plants that they are unable to maintain.

  18. Shark says:

    How do you like your cheap healthcare and your wall ???????

  19. Shark says:

    Give the R-section a triple dose !!!! t

  20. Paul says:

    So we just swim in it then . Drain your pool ? I’m sure someone is paid to tell us it’s safe for humans but you know just don’t let your dog drink from some bowl or lake left outside.

  21. Bk says:

    There’s a link in the story to the chemical being used…FL

    Umm yes would like to see more info on what is being sprayed my wife is pregnant and im sure this is not safe for her to inhale so I would like to know what time we need to not be outside with our dogs tonight. You talk of a map and a plan in your news article why not include that info in this article . I am all for the spraying just need to know how to be prepared to keep me and my family healthy…….1

  22. bob says:

    Get them skeeters plad gummit!!! The occasional spray keeps them musquats away!

  23. Sara Crewe says:

    What percentage of wildlife will be destroy? Because of this chemical spraying.

  24. Percy's mother says:

    Naled is a neurotoxin. It is banned in Europe.

  25. AnotherBitesTheDust says:

    If the mosquitoes don’t kill you, the toxic chemicals will definitely do the job but at a slower pace. How about those bat houses the high school students recommended

  26. AnotherBitesTheDust says:

    “In an effort to combat the spreading Zika virus, the federal government came close to spraying a pesticide across Puerto Rico that is highly toxic and presents the most danger to pregnant women.”

  27. P. H. says:

    And how about our pollinators?? Sad sad day. I wish we would have been given more time to respond to this poisoning. Makes me wanna move to Clay County!

  28. Kevin says:

    “Naled (trade name Dibrom) is an organophosphate with many of the same characteristics and concerns as malathion. Naled can cause cholinesterase inhibition in humans: that is, it can over stimulate the nervous system causing nausea, dizziness, confusion, and at high exposures, can cause respiratory paralysis and death. One of the byproducts of degradation of Naled is dichlorvos, another registered organophosphate. This compound is of toxicological concern.

    Researchers at the Cornell University Program on Pesticides and Breast Cancer Risk in New York State review several studies on dichlorvos. In one study, female mice that were fed high doses of dichlorvos over a long period of time had a higher frequency of stomach cancers than untreated mice. High doses of dichlorvos fed over two years caused an increase in the number of male rats that had pancreatic tumors and leukemia. A higher number of leukemia cases were reported in one study among male farmers who used dichlorvos for more than ten days per year, compared to those who had not used dichlorvos. A higher number of childhood brain cancer cases were reported among families that used dichlorvos than among families that did not.

    The pesticide trichlorfon is a common ingredient in the mosquito pesticide dibrom (naled). In one study, trichlorfon was found to cause a “severe reduction” in brain weight (and shape) in test animals exposed. The timing of exposure to the developing offspring appeared to be the key factor in determining neurological damage (known as the “critical brain growth period”). It occurred when the chemical was administered between 40-50 days gestation for the guinea pig, which scientists say, correlates with the brain growth spurt period for the animal.

    Russian scientists studied the growth rates of fish called Bream (Abramis brama) after exposure to the dibrom/naled contaminant dichlorvos. The first major effect detected was a significant reduction in the growth rates of the fish. Researchers believe it may be due to the subtle neurotoxin actions of the pesticide and its effects upon the areas of the brain involved in feeding or food search mechanisms.

    Naled is characterized as very highly toxic to bees and aquatic invertebrates. It is moderately to highly toxic to fish and slightly toxic to upland game birds and waterfowl. There is potential for chronic risk from Naled to estuarine invertebrates.

    Impact of naled (Dibrom 14) on the mosquito vectors of eastern equine encephalitis virus This study reports on analyses of 11 years (1984-94) of mosquito collection data from Cicero and Toad Harbor swamps in relation to applications of naled. Naled applications were successful in achieving short-term reductions in mosquito abundance. However, despite repetitive applications, populations of the primary vector of EEE virus, Cs. melanura, have increased 15-fold at Cicero Swamp. Preventive applications had no noticeable impact on the enzootic amplification of EEE virus, and isolations of virus following preventive applications have resulted in additional spraying. The possibility that applications of naled contributed to increased populations of Cs. melanura discredits the rationale that preventive applications of naled reduce the risk of EEE. For more information, click here

    Naled is the most toxic of the mosquito adulticides and is the only mosquito adulticide in class 1, the highest toxicity, with the signal word “Danger”.

    Naled is the only one that states in its label: inhaling can be FATAL.

    Naled is corrosive to the skin and eyes and may cause permanent damage.

    Once in the bloodstream, Naled may cross the placenta.”

  29. bob says:

    Like my grandpa always says, a potato in the ground is worth 2 mosquitoes in your neighbors yard.

  30. Linda Johnsen says:

    Several days ago I wrote the first comment. I am pleased to
    see that many others agree with me about the spraying, yet
    deeply saddened that we have to discuss this at all.
    With the rain that happened on Saturday night, I am wondering
    if the spraying was done, and if not will it be tonight on Sunday?
    How will the people know? Just how far did the NALED spread
    to places that it does not belong, though it belongs nowhere.
    There is a serious problem with the way this city and county
    just does what they please without the appropriate data of all
    possible things that can and will happen due to this foolish approach.
    While I appreciate Flagler Live and their coverage of many things, I am
    truly concerned that no one will know what happened with the “bombing”
    on Saturday, or tonight or whenever. This is not the time to be cavalier
    about this tell the people now.Ignorance will not help anyone or anything
    in this dangerous situation.
    Very grateful to the people who actually are concerned and have offered links
    and facts on the dangers we face. This is not a joke, but a creeping danger.
    How many people look up when they hear the planes out of curiosity and
    get a face full and lungs full of Naled????

  31. Linda Johnsen says:
    Why was this not referenced
    by this county. I found it on the
    CF News 13 website when I clicked
    on Flagler under counties.
    Sadly, No real information on the
    dangers of this spraying..

  32. tulip says:

    There are always naysayers about everything. I have never heard of masses of people dying from mosquito spray, or ruined pregnancies, etc. The amount of chemical they use is just enough to kill the bug. Or perhaps you’d rather apply a bug spray or cream which gets into your system and stays for awhile. Or kids can rub their hands on the sprayed skin and then put their fingers in their mouth and ingest some of it

    People spend more time inhaling toxic fumes from auto exhaust , spray paint, glues, drugs, etc. than they ever do inhaling mosquito spray. People are also told when the spraying will be and what time so they can stay inside if they choose and bring their pets in.

    Mosquitos do bad or annoying things to people like biting and can be infectious, so I have no desire to try and get along with them—-as far as I’m concerned kill as many as possible.

  33. HonkeyDude says:

    I am greatly concerned about the safety of all these organic gluteen free vegans who are to afraid to go outside for fear of sun cancer. PLEASE STOP SPRAYING for MOSQUITOS. Maybe they will pack up and leave the swamp they chose to move too.

    Coming SOON to Flagler….. Bat and dragon fly (aka skeeter hawks) sanctuaries at all parks under the million dollar anti sun cancer canopies just past the solar trees.

  34. Anonymous says:

    Why are so many people worried now when spraying has gone on for years while working environment were pregnant and kids played outside with nothing being said?

    Where has the pot of gold been found to be able to do this countywide spraying-I thought the mosquito control account was in the red by over a million dollars?

  35. John dolan says:

    Stars fell on Alabama but DDT was in your eyes last night. Gov Scott’s wife owns the company.

  36. Yourstruly says:

    Am I missing something?…. I haven’t seen any bombers in my area!!!! – more of the same political crap

  37. Marie says:

    I did hear planes flying really low over my house the other morning. I had no idea why. I walked my dog soon afterward. Had I known I never would have taken THAT walk.
    So my respiratory issues could be because of this?!!! Here I thought allergies just really kicked in. I’m all for mosquito control but we should be warned ahead of time if the county is doing this.
    Advise your residents!!!

  38. Old Lady says:

    It’s about time, how about adding it to St. Joe’s Canal,which is just an eyesore and a breeding ground.

  39. gym says:

    I am Glad we are not in Europe, they banned my favorite Mosquito control

  40. gym says:

    Honkey, you nailed it!!!!

  41. gym says:

    Looks like we need the county to arm all its residents with fly swatters and have them all march through each neighbor hood so we can kill all the harmful pest without hurting anyone’s feelings.

  42. Capt says:

    Spray away, but I do recommend to the county, get the water off the vacant lots or maybe come spray those manually. .

  43. Just the truth says:

    Chemicals laid down to keep weeds out of lawns, chemicals sprayed to keep bugs off your lawn. Chemicals to kill mosquitos, chemicals laid down in your home to keep bugs out. Chemicals, chemicals chemicals and people wonder why, people die from cancer. We are polluting our clean fresh air with all these chemicals.

  44. Bill says:

    not sure if related…… birds have been acting strange since spraying, flying into things repeatedly??

  45. Sam says:

    Well, no wonder I was so lightheaded yesterday and worse last night. Tonight better somewhat but I had to lay down several times today due to unusual dizziness. I thought I was coming down with something. I already have a serious health problem yet have never ever experienced the odd dizzy/extreme fatigue. I had no idea there was any aerial spraying of chemicals going on in palm coast. Don’t do it like this again. Surely there was a more proactive way in which to handle the increase in mosquitoes than to bomb the whole county with poisonous chemicals. So dangerous and been shown to cause disease in humans. Maybe treat the swales and send out the trucks. How about mowing the grass alongside the road where there are vacant lots more than once per summer. Is this kind of thing even legal?

  46. Paul Pasternak says:

    I always heard that spraying when it’s windy or raining is a waste of time and money. It was both.

  47. bob says:

    Your seeing things Bill.

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