Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

April 25, 2014

City offers tips to help avoid mosquitos

Press release
Jacksonville Daily Progress

JACKSONVILLE — The City of Jacksonville will be resuming its summer mosquito abatement program in the coming months, but in the meantime, there is much that regular citizens can be doing today to help limit the impact these nuisance insects will have on everyone as the temperatures

heat up.

According to Vector Control Coordinator Kelly Young, 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 mosquitos 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 works together to remove as many sources of standing water from their yards as possible, it will greatly reduce the number of mosquitoes you will have to deal with.”

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 mosquitos during a typical breeding season.

Young said the majority of the species of mosquitos 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.

Also be sure to 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 Eucalyptus have been shown scientifically to be about as effective as DEET.

Mosquitos are also vectors of numerous serious illnesses, making their elimination all the more important. While last year was not so bad, 2012 was the second worst year for West Nile that Texas has had since the illness first became prevalent.

But between the City’s spraying program and the assistance of its citizens, we can minimize the risk of WNV and other mosquito-borne diseases like Dengue, Chikungunya, Eastern Equine Encephalitis and Heartworm.

“The truth of the matter is that a proactive approach by Jacksonville’s citizens - doing what they can to help ensure they aren’t breeding any of the insects on their property - will be more effective in controlling the mosquito population than any spraying I will be doing this summer,” Young said. “By following these cheap, easy and effective tips during the next few months, you personally can be a big help in ensuring a more pleasant and safe summer for all of us.”