Health Care

Aerial spraying for Zika mosquitoes begins before dawn Friday

Protesters against Naled spraying gather at Miami Beach City Hall

Miami Beach residents along with their allies protest outside Miami Beach City Hall after the county announced it would start aerial spraying of the insecticide need to reduce the number of Zika-carrying mosquitoes on the island on Sept. 7, 2016.
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Miami Beach residents along with their allies protest outside Miami Beach City Hall after the county announced it would start aerial spraying of the insecticide need to reduce the number of Zika-carrying mosquitoes on the island on Sept. 7, 2016.

Planes equipped to mist Miami Beach with insecticide will fly for the first time before sunrise Friday.

Around 5 a.m. Friday, planes contracted by Miami-Dade County will fly just offshore at 300 feet and spray the insecticide naled, relying on winds to carry the droplets over South Beach. The target area is between Eigthth Street and 28th Street, from the ocean to Biscayne Bay.

County officials say the wind conditions need to be right for this type of spraying to work. Weather could delay the flight.

The spraying is expected to be completed within 30 minutes. Should inclement weather prevent spraying, the county would reschedule for another day — spraying would not occur later Friday.

The decision to use aerial spraying was made by Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez this week after mosquito counts rose during Labor Day weekend. Aerial spraying has triggered controversy in the Beach among residents who are concerned with naled, the insecticide being used to target adult Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, the species carrying Zika virus.

The county is advising residents who are sensitive to chemicals or worried about exposure to naled to stay inside for an hour after the spraying is done. Concerned parents are encouraged to keep their students indoors until 6:30 a.m.

The spraying will continue Sunday at 6 a.m., weather permitting, then again the following two Sundays for a total of four cycles.

On the ground, the county will continue spraying BTI, an organic and uncontroversial product aimed at killing mosquito larvae.

 
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