Thursday, June 17, 2021

Fight the Bite: How to Help Prevent West Nile Virus

Summer is peak mosquito season. Bug bites can be a pain, but even more concerning is the potential for contracting a serious virus spread by infected mosquitoes, like West Nile Virus.

It’s important to both recognize the symptoms of the virus and know what to do to protect yourself and your yard.

Know the symptoms

According to Tarrant County Public Health, up to 80 percent of people infected with West Nile Virus do not develop symptoms. The roughly 20 percent of infected people who develop symptoms may suffer from a fever, headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea or rash. Most people with this type of West Nile Virus disease recover completely, but fatigue and weakness can last for weeks or months. Less than one percent of infected people develop severe symptoms of a headache, high fever, neck stiffness, disorientation, coma, tremors, seizures or paralysis as the result of inflammation of the brain or surrounding tissues. If you suspect you have contracted West Nile Virus, contact your health care provider.

The good news is that positive tests for Tarrant County have been fairly low this year. So far this season, Tarrant County has only had 31 positive mosquito samples for the season, or April through July, compared to the 2017 season with 48 positive samples. You can help keep the numbers low this year by taking precautions.

Protect yourself

The Office of Emergency Management has an effective Vector Control, mosquito testing, program in place. The weekly tests monitor and reduce the risk of mosquito-transmitted diseases. If there is a positive West Nile test in Southlake, the City uses effective methods to control the threat by using EPA-approved pesticides on public property.

There are steps that you can take to protect your own property from mosquitos.

Make your yard an undesirable environment for mosquitoes. Since mosquitoes need water to breed, dispose of any standing water on your property. If water cannot be dumped or drained, use a larvicide to kill immature mosquitoes before they become adults. Larvicides, which are typically sold as tablets or granules, are applied directly to water sources that hold mosquito eggs or larvae and can help to reduce the mosquito population by limiting the number of new mosquitoes that are produced.

If adult mosquitoes are airborne on your property, liquid adulticides can be dispensed as fine aerosol droplets from hand-held sprayers. Adulticides stay aloft and kill flying mosquitoes on contact, immediately impacting the number of adult mosquitoes in an area.

In addition to reducing the mosquito population in your surroundings, wear long sleeves and pants to limit mosquito bites or use DEET-based insect repellents when outdoors.

For additional educational information about mosquitoes or to learn more about the City’s response to mosquitoes, visit the Office of Emergency Management’s webpage or call them at 817-748-8903.

Fight the Bite: Fight Mosquito Bites with the Four Ds

Few animals on Earth evoke the aggravation that mosquitoes do. Their itchy, irritating bites and bothersome presence can ruin a backyard barbecue or a hike in the woods. They have an uncanny ability to sense our intent, taking flight and disappearing milliseconds before a fatal swat.

The months of April through November are prime months for mosquito breeding and nuisance biting. The City of Southlake Office of Emergency Management and the Tarrant County Health department conduct vector control measures to test for diseased species and conduct ground spraying on public property. With that being said, the best weapon for protection against mosquitoes is personal responsibility.

The American Mosquito Control Association suggests understanding and following the four Ds to help protect yourself from mosquitoes:

  • Drain: Mosquito problems originate from water-filled containers or areas of standing water, as immature mosquitoes require water to develop. Eliminate standing water whenever possible in places such as buckets, gutters, pet water dishes, tree holes, abandoned swimming pools or tires, and other areas capable of breeding mosquitoes.
  • DUSK/DAWN: Limit outdoor activities during dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active. The mosquito that carries the Zika Virus is active during the daytime hours, so be sure to protect yourself at all times.
  • Dress: Close to 200 mosquito species in the United States are more attracted to dark clothing and can easily bite through tight-fitting garments. Wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothing to avoid mosquito bites. Long sleeves and pants will provide the most protection.
  • Defend: Use a mosquito repellent that has been registered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and apply according to the label directions.

So City of Southlake, let’s take on the challenge to fight the bite by taking the necessary steps to help prevent mosquito bites for you and your family. Please contact the Office of Emergency Management at 817-748-8624 or 817-748-8903.

Fight the Bite Graphic

Fight the Bite: Remember the 4-Ds for your defense against mosquitoes

The weather outside is getting warmer as we get closer to summer. Warm weather means lots of sun…and mosquitoes! As you spend more and more time having fun in the sun, don’t forget about the 4-Ds.

Drain standing water in your yard and neighborhood to get rid of mosquito breeding sites like flower pots, drains, pop-up and clogged rain gutters. Take a look around your home for some of these common mosquito sources. If you find standing water, you can use mosquito dunks. They’re found in most large retail stores and are quick and easy to install.

Dusk & Dawn are the when mosquitoes are most active, try and stay indoors during those times.

Dress in long sleeves and pants when you’re outside. Be sure to spray thin clothes with repellent.

DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide) is what you should look for in your insect repellent, check for 10-30 percent.

We’re here to help – if you notice a large amount of mosquitoes we can help identify their source and make recommendations to reduce the mosquitoes you are seeing. Contact us at cupton@ci.southlake.tx.us.

If you have unanswered questions about West Nile or the Zika virus, please contact Tarrant County Public Health at 817-248-6299 to help.

Three More Samples for West Nile Found in Southlake

WNV 4DsThe City of Southlake was notified Wednesday (10/8/2014) that three mosquito samples have tested positive for the West Nile Virus. The samples were taken from traps at the 800 block of Shady Lane, the 100 block of Meadowlark Lane, and at the 700 block Ashleigh Lane.  A small portion of the Shady Lane spray zone is scheduled to take place in the 76051 zip code in Grapevine.

“We have seen recurring positive samples at these locations,” says Public Works Director Bob Price. “The City is following the West Nile Virus Action Plan to prevent positive samples, but we need the help of residents as well.”

Price adds that those residing outside of the half-mile spray radius should remain cautious, “We have six traps located strategically throughout the City—five that are stationary and one mobile. This means that when we see positive samples at these locations everyone in the area needs to be on alert.”

Price reminds everyone to look for sources of water in both the expected and unexpected places on a weekly basis and eliminate mosquito breeding grounds by draining standing water, covering outdoor containers, and treating undrainable areas with larvacide. Also, always wear insect repellent containing DEET when outdoors—especially at dusk and dawn.

The City intends to ground spray within a half-mile radius of the affected areas (see maps below) tomorrow night (10/9), Friday night (10/10), and Saturday night (10/11)—weather permitting.

For more information about the West Nile Virus Action Plan and what Southlake is doing in the area of mosquito surveillance and control, please see CityofSouthlake.com/WestNileVirus.

800 Block of Shady Lane.

800 Block of Shady Lane.

100 Block of Meadowlark Lane.

100 Block of Meadowlark Lane.

700 Block of Ashleigh Lane.

700 Block of Ashleigh Lane.

Positive Sample for West Nile Found at 600 Block of W. Continental Blvd.

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

The City of Southlake was notified Wednesday (10/1/2014) that one mosquito sample tested positive for the West Nile Virus. The sample was taken from a trap at the 600 block of W. Continental Blvd.

“It will likely be several more weeks before we will see a drop off in positive tests which is why the City is continually monitoring mosquito activity and treating public areas with larvicide,” says Fire Chief Mike Starr. “We want to remind residents their vigilance is vital in the efforts to prevent a human case of West Nile Virus.”

Starr reminds everyone that the City needs your help to combat mosquito breeding on private property by to looking for sources of water in both the expected and unexpected places on a weekly basis and eliminate mosquito breeding grounds by draining standing water, covering outdoor containers, and treating stagnant water with larvicide.

The City intends to ground spray within a half-mile radius of the affected areas (see map below) tomorrow night (10/2), Friday night (10/3), and Saturday night (10/4) in accordance with the City’s West Nile Virus Action Plan—weather permitting.

For more information on what Southlake is doing in the area of mosquito surveillance and control, please see CityofSouthlake.com/WestNileVirus.

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

City Urges Residents to Help Fight WNV after Three More Positive Samples Found

Mosquito Backyard

Click to enlarge.

The City of Southlake was notified Wednesday (9/10/2014) that three mosquito samples have tested positive for the West Nile Virus. The samples were taken from traps at 2201 Shady Oaks Drive, 870 Shady Lane, and the 700 Block of Ashleigh Lane.

The City intends to ground spray within a half-mile radius of the affected areas (see maps below) for two consecutive nights beginning Friday (9/12/2014)—weather permitting.

“Weather forecasts are predicting thunderstorms through the end of the week, which will aide in flushing existing mosquito larvae,” said Public Works Director Bob Price.

Price adds, “The rain will provide new opportunities for standing water. Following the rain, residents are strongly encouraged to thoroughly inspect their backyards and treat any standing water with larvacide.”

Anything that can hold water for just a few days can become a mosquito breeding ground. Be sure to check your property for standing water. In addition to checking small containers, house gutters and French drains, staff encourages you to check for unexpected 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.

Residents should always remember to wear insect repellent containing DEET when outdoors, especially at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.

For more information on what Southlake is doing in the area of mosquito surveillance and control, please see CityofSouthlake.com/WestNileVirus.

Half mile radius of 870 Shady Lane.

Half mile radius of 870 Shady Lane.

Half mile radius of  2201 Shady Oaks.

Half mile radius of 2201 Shady Oaks Drive.

Half mile radius of the 700 block of Ashleigh Lane.

Half mile radius of the 700 block of Ashleigh Lane.

Second Positive Sample for West Nile Virus Found

The City of Southlake has been notified that a mosquito sample tested positive for West Nile Virus. The sample was taken from a trap in the 700 Block of Ashleigh Lane, located in Timarron.

The City will ground spray within a half-mile of the location around where the sample was found (see map below). Ground spraying will take place tomorrow night (8/28), Friday night (8/29) and Saturday night (8/30), after 9 p.m. in accordance with the City’s West Nile Virus Action Plan.

“Many people don’t realize that backyards are unintended breeding grounds for mosquitoes,” explains Public Works Director Bob Price. “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.”

Price reminds everyone to Fight the Bite. Be sure to check your property for standing water. In addition check containers, house gutters and French drains, your water meter box, tree holes, blocked irrigation heads, gutter drains and other underground pipes, pool overflow pipes, storm drains for the presence of standing water. Finally, 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, visit CityofSouthlake.com/WestNileVirus.

The sample was taken from a trap at 700 Ashleigh Lane, which is located south of Rockenbaugh Elementary School.

The sample was taken from a trap at 700 Ashleigh Lane, which is located south of Rockenbaugh Elementary School.

City Asks Residents to Help Fight the Bite

Fight the BiteSummertime is here! This means outdoor fun for many, but summertime also means mosquitoes and the threat of West Nile Virus (WNV).

The City of Southlake approaches West Nile Virus protection proactively and asks residents to help “Fight the Bite.”

So what is the City doing? And how can you help?

What the City is Doing

The City of Southlake has been monitoring mosquito populations and conducting weekly testing on mosquitoes since March and currently has had no positive results.

Additionally, the mosquito that the Tarrant County Public Health Department believes is responsible for spreading the virus—Culex Quinquefasciatus—has been detected in low counts this year in Southlake, compared to this time last year.

Despite these results, Southlake’s Environmental Coordinator Christi Upton urges caution, “Though we have seen no positive tests so far and mosquito populations are low—we should not drop our guard.”

Although the City is doing its part to address the threat of West Nile Virus, the emergence of WNV is hard to predict. “The Center for Disease Control (CDC) does not have a good indication of what caused the high incident rate of 2012, but those environmental factors that may have led to the increase in disease can occur again,” adds Upton.

“In a drought Culex  populations can flourish in what scientists refer to as ‘urban drool’, a term referring to sources of water in drought conditions, including: excessive irrigation runoff, power washing runoff, leaks, poor drainage of French drains and down spouts, and other similar sources,” notes Upton. “This water ‘drools’ into storm drain systems and sits for long periods of time, breeding mosquitoes in unseen areas.”

In addition to trapping, testing, and monitoring mosquitoes, the City is following recommendations from the CDC to use integrated pest management by focusing on multiple methods to control for mosquitoes. These include: larval control (pest prevention), complaint responses, and the elimination of conditions that lead to pest infestations.

The City implements the use of adulticides – more commonly known as “spraying”—when an elevated risk is detected, such as detecting the virus in the mosquito population. Upton adds that the CDC cautions the use of pesticides and recommends its use strategically, as overexposure can lead to pesticide resistance in mosquito populations.

What Residents Can Do

Monitoring “urban drool” lends itself to the most important part of the integrated pest management system—public participation.

Upton notes, “The public’s vigilance in mosquito control is an integral part of the success of mosquito population control and preventing the spread of West Nile Virus.”

Residents are encouraged to look for sources of water in both the expected and unexpected places on a weekly basis and eliminate mosquito breeding grounds by draining standing water, covering outdoor containers, and treating undrainable areas with larvacide.

“What many people don’t realize is that backyards are unintended breeding grounds for mosquitoes,” explains 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.”

In addition to protecting their property, residents are reminded to protect themselves from being bitten by wearing insect repellent containing DEET and wearing long sleeves and pants—especially at dusk and dawn.

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 or call 817-748-8638.

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 www.CityofSouthlake.com/FightTheBite 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.”