Spray plane targets Sister Islands mosquitoes

Kemarley Maxam, in orange vest on right, learning how to load spray planes in Cayman Brac. - Photo: GIS

The Mosquito Research and Control Unit is stepping up efforts to combat mosquitos across Cayman Brac and Little Cayman.

The MRCU has added new equipment that will enable it to load spray planes on the Brac, which the unit’s director Jim McNelly said is safer, and by using less fuel, more efficient, than flying loaded planes from Grand Cayman to the Sister Islands.

According to an MRCU press release, it is moving away from acting on ad hoc spray requests from the public and instead introducing a “sustained approach of surveillance-based control, which has been proven to be most effective at tackling mosquito populations”.

These surveillance techniques, which include bite counts and portable and baited traps, are new to Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, though they are regularly used successfully in Grand Cayman, the MRCU said.

“This practice helps to determine not only whether mosquitoes are in fact present but also to better target mosquito population control efforts where needed,” the unit stated in a press release.

As part of the overhaul, the MRCU is deploying new surveillance traps, and a forklift, trailer and $90,000 loader truck arrived in Cayman Brac at the start of this month to facilitate loading spray planes, so that  Cayman Brac now can be used as a base for aerial operations for both Sister Islands.

While it will be tackling mosquitoes, the MRCU says it is determined not to disturb the local bee populations on the islands while carrying out truck or aerial spraying.

The MRCU also has hired three full-time Disease Prevention Officers to help with increased efforts.

On Little Cayman, Kemarley Maxam began work as a Disease Prevention Officer on 13 May. The 22-year-old Caymanian is the MRCU’s first full-time Disease Prevention Officer on that island.

Meanwhile, on Grand Cayman, the MRCU increased ground control measures to contend with a mosquito outbreak over the past two weeks. During an aerial spraying operation on 25 June, the unit used a recently procured chemical that targets adult mosquitoes, helped to mop up nearly 7,000 acres in the Frank Sound/North Side area.

To request MRCU spraying services, call 949‑2557 or visit www.mrcu.ky.

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  1. The public deserves to know what chemicals are being sprayed by the MCRU. Further, the MCRU should give the public notice when they will be spraying. I have been sprayed on countless times by the plane while exercising or walking along the beach. The plane flies over SMB around sunset when all the tourists are on the beach. Shameful. Dare I say there may be a correlation between the high Cayman Cancer rates and the pesticides we are showered in?