Summertime is approaching and that means outdoor fun for many –going to the lake, enjoying outdoor barbecues, or simply enjoying an evening stroll around Town Square. But summertime also means mosquitoes and the possibility that the West Nile Virus (WNV) could make an unwanted appearance to dampen your summertime plans. So this year, as we do every year, the City of Southlake ask you to “Fight the Bite.”
Preventing the spread of West Nile is a collaborative effort between the City and you, the residents. The City of Southlake, for example, acts proactively to reduce the exposure of West Nile to our residents through the laying out of traps in “hot spot” locations – i.e. those places where cases of WNV have been detected previously – for weekly testing. Should a positive test be recorded, the City will spray the affected area per the mosquito response plan. The use of pesticides are recommended strategically though, as overexposure can lead to pesticide resistance in mosquito populations. “The City limits the use of adulticides – more commonly known as “spraying”—to when we detect an elevated risk, such as detecting the virus in the mosquito population,” says Upton.
In addition to trapping, testing and spraying, the City uses the Center for Disease Control (CDC) integrated pest management system recommendations for proactive management of the mosquito population. Larval control (pest prevention), complaint responses and inspection, and the elimination of conditions that lead to pest infestations are all elements of the City’s proactive strategy.
One of the most important part of the integrated pest management system however, is public participation.
The “Fight the Bite” campaign is one part of public participation. Residents are also encouraged to look for sources of water in both the expected and unexpected places on their property and help eliminate these potential mosquito breeding grounds. In short, if you notice standing water on your property drain the standing water. It’s also important to deny mosquitoes access to potential breeding areas, such as open containers, by simply covering up anything that will collect water following a rainstorm. “What many people don’t realize is that backyards are unintended breeding grounds for mosquitoes,” explains Environmental Coordinator Christi Upton. “Mosquitoes prefer stagnant water and any area that holds a little more than a teaspoon of undisturbed water for a couple of days can become a breeding ground for mosquitoes.”
Monitoring your property and eliminating sources of standing water is one part of the equation. We also ask that you protect yourselves and your family from being bitten by wearing insect repellent containing DEET, wearing long sleeves and pants—especially at dusk and dawn. In other words: Follow the “4 Ds”!
With the recent rains, the likelihood of mosquitoes is increasing and that means the potential for West Nile increases as well. The City of Southlake will continue to act proactively, but residents must do their part to help Fight the Bite.
For more information about what Southlake is doing in the area of mosquito surveillance and control, for tips on how you can protect yourself and home, or to report a mosquito problem, visit CityofSouthlake.com/FightTheBite.