Catch the Buzz: Pesticide in the Houston Skies

What’s that buzzing you’ve been hearing outside since last night? Why, just the sporting folks from Harris County Mosquito Control, spreading good cheer and an insecticide called dibrom throughout the northern parts of the city:

At an airfield in Sugar Land, health officials Wednesday evening loaded three small airplanes with more than 3,150 pounds per gallon of insecticide as they prepared to fly over portions of northwest and northeast Harris County throughout the night.

The county began spraying by truck in the spring, and the planes allow officials to strike larger areas and parts of the county that are less accessible by vehicles.

The airplane spraying that began this week is earlier in the “season” than usual. West Nile virus was first identified in area mosquitoes in 2002. Director Rudy Bueno tells the Chronicle that a recent upsurge in West Nile virus in captured mosquitoes

is unusual because areas with West Nile often experience a decrease in the virus two or three years after it is detected. “It is not common,” he said. “However (Harris County) is in a much warmer area, and changes in the weather pattern are part of the reason for increase.”

Ah, it’s our warm and welcoming climate that’s brought it on! More airplane fun tonight, over a tiny 265,200-acre section of north Harris County.