To say the beginning of 2019 has been wet, rainy, and well way outside the average would be a bit of an understatement. Many parts of the country have been deluged by rains and flooding and the eastern Texas area is no exception. Because of this the Texas Department of State Health is already issuing warnings about the potential health issues that can come from early mosquito counts.
Mosquito borne diseases like the West Nile Virus are serious in nature, and the mild winter followed by widespread rains means perfect breeding conditions for these little insects. Unfortunately it seems like the early counts from various government and natural organizations seem to confirm that. The early traps seem to show bigger populations of aggressive mosquitoes with some up to 50% larger.
What Preventive Measures Can I Take?
While there are preventative measures that local communities in the Dallas area can take like mosquito control services, and staying on top of the tracking and maintenance of public lands they’re doing now, but the first line of responsibility has to be with individuals understanding what they can do. On small properties where it is possible, get rid of small puddles of standing water. The longer a sitting body of water is there, the more likely it is to result in mosquitoes breeding. While they can seem to be swarming everywhere, they actually have a very small travel distance meaning if there are a lot of them, then there’s someplace close by where they are coming from.
The fewer standing bodies of water on a property, the fewer mosquitoes. This can include even the smallest things like water collecting in tires, trash cans, buckets, rain gutters, pet dishes that aren’t being used, or even puddles that take multiple days to dry up.
Prevention Is the Key
The West Nile Virus is a very real health hazard. In 2018 Texas had 146 confirmed cases of West Nile that resulted in 11 deaths and those numbers could shoot up with an explosion in mosquito population. This makes taking precautionary steps all the more important, especially for families with young, elderly, or anyone with immune system issues.
There are four precautions everyone should take:
- Wear long sleeves and pants when possible to reduce bites
- Don’t open windows without screens (or rely on AC)
- Always keep the bug spray on hand while outside
- Check your property on a regular basis for standing water and clean it out
A little knowledge and preparation can go a long way.