Sunday, December 8, 2019

Mosquitoes Haven’t Been a Big Problem This Summer in Southlake

You may have heard that several cities in the Metroplex have begun spraying for mosquitoes. And, you may be asking yourself, why isn’t Southlake spraying or wondering when they are going to spray?

Cities like Grapevine who have implemented a spraying program have done so because they have seen positive results when trapped mosquitoes are tested for the presence of the West Nile Virus. To date, Southlake has not experienced a positive result on mosquitoes tested. In addition, Southlake is not experiencing any growth trends in mosquito population.

Many cities in the North Texas area have taken a proactive approach to controlling mosquitoes and protecting the public from harm. Southlake has set mosquito traps in several locations throughout the city. Five of these traps are stationary while one trap is deployed in various locations around the city based upon complaints or concerns expressed by staff or the general public. Mosquitoes from all of these traps are collected by city staff, counted and then tested by a laboratory for the presence of the West Nile Virus.

Spraying otherwise known as adulticiding should not be the first line of defense against mosquitoes. For a number of years now health authorities have agreed that spraying is a less effective means of protection against the mosquito-borne illness. Yet, if the problem progresses and there is a need for mitigation beyond surveillance and larviciding, then spraying is in order. The City of Southlake West Nile Virus Response Plan indicates that the city will implement spraying when the mosquito population escalates or a positive result is experienced from the mosquitoes tested.

Mosquito control is best performed using an Integrated Mosquito Management (IMM) concept. IMM develops pest management systems that are practical and effective to protect human health as well as the environment. By adopting the West Nile Virus Action Plan on May 7, 2013, the city has incorporated the IMM system into city operations.

An IMM program, endorsed by the Centers for Disease Control and the Environmental Protection Agency uses a comprehensive list of actions, including public education; mosquito sampling and disease monitoring; source reduction; larviciding; and, when indicated by surveillance or monitoring, the use of adulticides to reduce the mosquito population.

Staff continues to inspect public property to reduce, eliminate, or treat public sites and encourages the public to remain vigilant on private property. The public’s vigilance is a critical partner in reducing mosquito populations, and subsequently, the best defense against the spread of the virus.

Anything that can hold water for just a few days can become a mosquito breeding ground. Continue to check your property for standing water. In addition to checking small containers, house gutters and French drains, staff encourages you to check for areas such as your water meter box, any tree holes, blocked irrigation heads, gutter drains and other underground pipes, pool overflow pipes, storm drains for the presence of standing water.

And don’t forget to use insect repellent whenever you are outside where mosquitoes may be present. For more information on what Southlake is doing in the area of mosquito surveillance and control, please see www.CityofSouthlake.com/WestNileVirus