Local health departments are taking a proactive approach to fending off West Nile this year. Next week, the Northeast Texas Public Health Department will start fogging for mosquitoes in Tyler. In Longview, they're trapping and monitoring mosquito populations to see if any are carrying the virus.
"It calls itself an ultra low volume applicator. It's taking mineral oil and insecticide, mixing it together in a tank, emitting it through the hoses and throwing it out a nozzle into a mist," says Bob Gardner, with NET Health's Animal Control Department.
The mist looks like a fog when it's rolling down the street. The fog wraps around tree limbs, leaves and bushes, killing adult mosquitoes. Next week, Gardner plans to start fogging in Tyler.
"We're going to start in the center of town and we're going to work our way to the outside. We'll be fogging at least three mornings a week until we have a blanket coverage over the city. The only thing that regulates or prevents us from fogging will be rain or windy conditions," says Gardner.
In March, the health department tossed rickets of larvicide into large pools of stagnant water. Their other option is to put minnows in the water because those minnows will eat mosquito larva.
"In the water, which is the key ingredient, the eggs can lay dormant for 5 to 6 years. We know that," says Gardner.
The city of longview says they do not have plans yet to start fogging. In Longview, they're monitoring mosquito populations through trapping.
"Thankfully, right now, we haven't seen any kind of significant quantities of the type of mosquitoes that cary the West Nile Virus. As the situation may change, our approach may change but that's what we're focusing on right now," says Shawn Hara, the spokesperson for the city of Longview.
However, the biggest problem is what's going on in our own backyards.
"It is by neglect, by utensils that are holding water, by tarps that are holding water, by animal dishes, bird baths, dirty gutters, french drains, all of these things that are holding water that can stagnate," says Gardner.
The Northeast Texas Health Department in Tyler says if mosquito problems are brought to a homeowner's attention and they continue to ignore them, they could face a citation.