Monday, September 28, 2020

Fight the Bite and the West Nile Virus

Although it’s been a cool spring, mosquitoes are already making their presence known in Southlake.  Traps that have been set by City of Southlake staff have yielded dozens of mosquitoes, but only test results will tell if the mosquitoes carry the West Nile Virus.

“After last summer’s unprecedented outbreak, the City reached out to the health departments of both Tarrant and Denton counties so we could prepare for this summer’s West Nile Virus season,” said Emergency Management Coordinator Kyle Taylor.  “We have also developed a tiered response that is based upon the amount of mosquitoes that we are finding in our traps, the results of West Nile Virus testing and any confirmed human cases of the disease.”

Last summer, Texas was at the epicenter of the worst West Nile Virus outbreak in years.  Southlake saw eight confirmed cases of West Nile Virus.  This summer the City is encouraging residents to take personal responsibility to Fight the Bite.

“What many people don’t know is that backyards are the perfect breeding grounds for mosquitoes,” said Environmental Coordinator Christi Upton.  “Any area that holds little more than a teaspoon of undisturbed water for a couple of days can become a breeding ground for the type of mosquitoes most responsible for spreading this virus.”

Upton urges residents to get rid of these mosquito hot zones and get rid of standing water where you can.  Close containers, empty what you can’t frequently, or treat areas you can not drain with a larvacide.  She added that the City is checking and testing public property areas of standing water, treating with a larvacide and placing briquettes when appropriate.

The City is making biological mosquito larvicide available to residents for private property use.  These briquettes treat standing water by releasing a larvicide that kills larvae for a period of 30 days.  The briquettes are available at the following locations Public Works Operations, 1950 E. Continental Boulevard Monday – Friday, 7:30 am to 4:30 pm.

The City has created a website page to aid residents and businesses.  It answers frequently asked questions and details the City’s Action Plan for the summer.

“The website also provides a way for people to report a mosquito problem if they see it, said Taylor.”  “Just fill out the “Mosquito Problem” form and the City will follow up on your request.”