As anxious local and federal officials eye a highly-active hurricane season just days away from starting, Jefferson County Mosquito Control officials are preparing for the droves of mosquitoes that breed in flood water after storms.
Preparations for the five-month season include servicing the department’s 3 airplanes and stocking up on chemicals, department director Denise Wheeler told The Enterprise.
“Hurricane season definitely changes things,” she said. “We monitor the weather daily, However, with hurricane season, the approach is a lot different, because you never know what you are going to get.”
Despite a rainy couple of weeks, Wheeler said the region has not seen an abnormal uptick in mosquito populations for this time of year, although the department continues to complete routine sprays throughout the county.
“Any time you see the change in the weather, when we get as much rain as we’ve seen over the past few weeks, it is expected that the mosquito population will increase,” Wheeler said. “It has not been extremely heightened, however. Nothing unusual at this point.”
Trucks will be out spraying tonight, Wheeler said, and several areas already have been sprayed by plane.
“The trucks are Monday through Thursday — weather permitting,” she said.
Controlling the mosquito population is about more than just keeping residents comfortable.
“We are considered public health, and we want to make sure we are controlling the mosquitoes as best we can because our services are hindered by the weather,” Wheeler said. “Mosquitoes can carry the West Nile Virus, which we have had in the past. Not anytime recently, but because we’re considered public health, we want to make sure that we’re controlling when we can.”
While the mosquito treatments aim to keep the population under control, individuals also can do their part.
“The top of the list is to make sure that there is no standing water,” Wheeler said. “That is very imperative to help themselves and their neighbors.”
Water dishes, plants and gutters often are areas where standing water can collect.
Over-the-counter solutions also are available for added protection and control, Wheeler said.
According to the department’s website, the insecticides sprayed by the department used have no residual effect.
“We must actually hit the mosquito directly with a droplet in order to kill it,” the website says. “If more mosquitoes fly into an area after the spray has settled, they are not affected. Obviously, it is very important to spray the right place at the right time under the right weather conditions in order to achieve control.”
If there are unusually-high numbers of mosquitoes, Jefferson County residents can call and request a spray.
“The first line is to contact our office … at 409-719-5940,” Wheeler said. “They can also visit the website at https://co.jefferson.tx.us/JCMD/.”
On the website, you can request service or view the current schedule.
Written by Isaac Windes
Categories: Local News
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