Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

April 10, 2013

City offers tips to help avoid a heavy and deadly mosquito season this year

Progress staff reports
Jacksonville Daily Progress


Mosquitoes are going to keep coming at us. That's a fact. But there's no reason to make it easy for them.

Mosquitoes carry numerous serious illnesses – such as the West Nile Virus for the past decade.  Last year was the worst year for West Nile Virus that Texas has had in the past decade. In all of 2011, the entire state had only three reported cases of the virus. In 2012, there were 1,739 confirmed cases in Texas, including at least 76 deaths.

The City of Jackson-ville is expected to resume its summer mosquito abatement program in the coming months. But in the meantime, the city is recommending citizens take steps to curb the nuisance mosquitoes will create for everyone as temperatures heat up.

 Jacksonville Vector Control Coordinator Kelly Young said there are several simple steps that anyone can take to help keep mosquito bites to a minimum this year.

“By destroying their habitat, we can kill the majority of mosquitoes before they even have the chance to become biting adults,” Young said. “Mosquito larva develop in standing water, and they only need a few inches of water to do so, so if everyone on your block removes all sources of standing water from their yards, it will greatly reduce the number of mosquitoes you will have to deal with.”

Suggestions include: Dump out any standing water in birdbaths, planting pots, pet water bowls and anything else that may collect water every few days. Maintain your pools and dump them out if the water becomes stagnant.

Also: try to correct any drainage issues in your yard, if possible. A single stopped-up drainage ditch can produce thousands of mosquitoes during a typical breeding season.

Young said the majority of the species of mosquitoes which are most troublesome for humans in East Texas are active mainly at dawn and dusk. By avoiding the outdoors during these prime feeding times, we can greatly decrease our odds of being bitten.

“If you absolutely do need to be outside at these times when females are known to feed, mosquitoes can’t bite through most clothing, so wear long sleeves and pants, if possible,” he said.

Another caution is to always apply insect repellant when outdoors. Most common insect repellants on the market contain DEET, which is very effective.

For those who do not want to use DEET, alternative repellants containing Picardin or Oil of Lemon Eucalyp-tus have been shown scientifically to be about as effective as DEET.