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Aerial FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions: Aerial Larviciding Treatment

Frequently Asked Questions:
Aerial Larviciding Treatment

Q:  What is Aerial Larviciding?

   Answer:  Aerial larviciding is a site-specific application to control mosquitoes in their larval aquatic stages before they emerge as adult mosquitoes. Larviciding is the most effective and economical way to keep mosquito populations low. At the District, this is accomplished by using a subcontracted fixed-wing aircraft otherwise known as the “yellow plane.”

Q:  When are these Aerial Larviciding treatments being conducted?

   Answer:  When heavy rains or tidal events flood large areas, an aerial treatment takes place, weather permitting. The process begins when an inspector searches the area for mosquito larvae. We must have a physical presence of larvae for an aerial treatment to take place. Once larvae are found and properly identified a treatment plan goes into effect.

Q:  Why is it important to control these types of Salt Marsh mosquitoes?

  Answer:  These types of mosquitoes are known for being aggressive all-day biters and each female is capable of laying hundreds of eggs several times in her life. Just five acres may contain as many as 6.5 million eggs. Without treatment, they can emerge in massive numbers and are an extreme nuisance. This affects local tourism and the overall quality of life for our residents.

Q:  How is Aerial Larviciding conducted?

   Answer:  When larval counts are high following a flooding event, a granular material, bacterial larvicide, Bacillus thuringiensis var. israelensis, commonly known as Bti, is applied by aerial treatment along the coastal marsh where mosquito larvae are present in large numbers. The yellow plane will fly lower than the rest of the local air traffic to ensure we minimize the off-site drift of the material. The plane will fly back and forth over an area treating 80ft swath widths with each pass. The area is covered at 9 to 12 lbs of material per acre.

Q:  What Larvicide products are you using for aerial treatments?

   Answer:  1) Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis (Bti) is a naturally occurring bacterium that produces a crystalline protein toxin. This protein toxin is specific to mosquito larvae and black fly larvae. Bti only works on species with an alkaline pH stomach and the specific protein receptors for the toxin. The crystals must be ingested to show a toxic effect. This extremely specific mode of action makes it safer for non-target organisms present in the same environment.   2) Spinosad, which is biologically derived from the fermentation of Saccharopolyspora spinosa, a naturally occurring soil organism. Spinosad has high efficacy, low mammalian toxicity, and a good environmental profile. Spinosad is a natural product and is approved for use in organic agriculture by numerous national and international certifications.

Q:  Can I be notified before treatments?

   Answer:  A notice will be posted on the home screen of our website, when the “yellow plane” will be doing granular applications.