MCHD starts aerial spraying to battle mosquitoes - FOX10 News | WALA

MCHD starts aerial spraying to battle mosquitoes

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The MCHD's Cessna 182Q. Photo: FOX10 News Reporter Alexa Knowles. The MCHD's Cessna 182Q. Photo: FOX10 News Reporter Alexa Knowles.
MOBILE COUNTY, AL (WALA) -

The Mobile County Health Department is taking to the skies to wipe out pesky mosquitoes. The hot Gulf Coast weather is perfect a breeding ground, especially in the swampy southern part of the county. 

Friday night, the MCHD started aerial spraying, adding to the trucks that have already been spraying for mosquitoes throughout the county. But there are some places those trucks can't go. When the mosquitoes get bad enough, health officials break out its fighter plane. 

The rain and wind held off long enough for the "Mosquito Defeater" to take its first flight this year. Its mission is printed boldly on its wings: "Mosquito Control." To do that, the little Cessna 182Q was all geared up with a special insecticide that is sprayed from the air. 

"It has to be good weather when we do what we're doing...they're wind driven, so they just sit there and spin, the chemical comes out here and we get fine mist rather than an actual stream," said pilot Robby Grice, who has been flying the plane for three years. "We're going places the trucks can't get to."

The battle ground: the swampy part of southern Mobile County, including coastal areas like Coden, Bayou La Batre, and Dauphin Island.  

The plane's flight was about an hour, spraying until it ran out of insecticide. Health officials are hoping that was a heavy blow to disease-carrying mosquitoes threatening to ruin our Gulf Coast summer nights.

The health department has been using the plane for three years. We're told it flies on an as-needed basis. Meanwhile, trucks will continue to spray every week if the weather allows.

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