Airport plants pulled to prevent dengue mosquito growthUPDATED 9:07 PM HST Jul 24, 2013Video Transcript
Pretty while they lasted... but less than two years after the state planted thousands of dollars worth of plants along the H-1 Airport Viaduct... they're digging them up again! That's because the Bromeliads could be a breeding ground for mosquitoes... especially the type that carry Dengue Fever. Another one was just discovered near the airport. Tonight KITV4's Andrew Pereira has new information. It cost the state $319,000 to install bromeliads along the H1 Airport Viaduct in February of last year. Just 17 months later the state is pulling them like weeds. CAROLINE SLUYTER: "IT IS UNFORTUNATE THAT IT HAS TO BE TAKEN OUT, BUT I THINK THAT PUBLIC HEALTH AND SAFETY IS A PRIORITY AT THIS POINT." Taxpayers are losing out on $48,000 worth of plants and $12,000 of labor. The sprinklers will remain. But the big concern is this little bug. GARY GILL: "FOR THE FIFTH TIME IN ABOUT A YEAR, WE'VE IDENTIFIED THE AEDES AEGYPTI MOSQUITO, THE ONE THAT MOST EFFICIENTLY TRANSMITS DENGUE FEVER GROWING AT THE AIRPORT." The latest mosquito discovery at Honolulu International was made the week of July 1. Gill says the urban area around the airport and the Airport Viaduct act as barriers against the spread of mosquitos, but the bromeliads ARE problematic. Mosquitos only need two teaspoons of water and two weeks to breed. Bromeliads can hold much more standing water than that! GARY GILL: "WE DON'T WANT TO LEAVE THAT TRAIL OF BREAD CRUMBS OR THAT LONG LINE OF LITTLE WATER CUPS IN BROMILIADS THAT COULD INDUCE THE MOSQUITO TO LEAVE THE AIRPORT 247 AND MIGRATE AND SPREAD AND START TO BREED IN TOWN." ANDREW PEREIRA: "MOSQUITO TRAPS LIKE THIS ONE ARE FOUND THROUGHOUT HONOLULU INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT. THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH WANTS TO CONDUCT SIMILAR TRAPPING AT NEIGHBOR ISLAND AIRPORTS, BUT LACKS THE RESOURCES TO DO SO." GARY GILL: "THE LEGISLATURE DID PROVIDE THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH THE PAST SESSION WITH FOUR NEW VECTOR CONTROL WORKERS, WE HAD ASKED FOR EIGHT. A FEW YEARS AGO 40 HAD BEEN ELIMINATED. SO, WE'RE TRYING TO TAKE SMALL STEPS TO REBUILD OUR CAPACITY TO PREVENT THE SPREAD OF THESE KINDS OF MOSQUITOS AND OTHER OTHER VECTOR THREATS." There have been no recent dengue fever cases in Hawaii, but the health department wants residents to dump out any standing water. Prior to March of last year, the last time an Aedes aegypti mosquito was found on Oahu was 1949.