TEXAS — Texas officials asked the U.S. Air Force to spray coastal regions of the state in order to combat swarming mosquitoes in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.
U.S. Air Force C-130 cargo planes started spraying insecticides over three eastern Texas counties during the weekend and plan to expand to other counties over the following weeks, said officials from the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS), Reuters reported.
The C-130 cargo planes flew from an air force base in San Antonio and joined two smaller planes.
About 1.85 million acres have been treated as of Tuesday, the department said. The plan is to spray 6 million acres in total.
Officials hope the spraying will prevent mosquito-borne illnesses as well as protect emergency response workers and residents from swarms during cleanup efforts.
The Air Force is using an organophosphate insecticide called naled, according to Quartz. Naled acts as a neurotoxin that targets adult mosquitoes, according to Newsweek.
The health department sprays about 16 million acres a year with the insecticide. It is frequently used after disasters to deal with mosquitoes.
Health officials urged residents to dispose of standing water, use repellant and wear long-sleeved clothing outdoors.