City leaders across East Texas share differing approaches to mosquito mitigation

City leaders across East Texas share differing approaches to mosquito mitigation

EAST TEXAS (KLTV/KTRE) - They’re a part of summer in East Texas just as much as the heat: mosquitoes. However, you may have noticed less buzz this year because cities are being calculates and proactive when it comes to mosquito prevention.

Jason Arnold, assistant city manager of Lufkin, said there’s no need to wait until you’re swarmed and swatting mosquitoes away to call city services for backup.

“We’ll spray a lot of our areas -- public parks and some of those areas -- but one of the really neat things we offer our citizens is to call our Parks and Recreation Office," said Arnold. "Give us their address, and in the summer, we’ll fog those areas.”

In Nacogdoches, city leaders tend to take a more blanketed approach.

“We have a lot of lower areas here in Nacogdoches," said Tommy Stanley, Jr, superintendent of Parks and Recreation. “They hold water, and that’s a perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes."

To combat mosquitoes, the City of Nacogdoches is split into five Mosquito District which are constantly treated to keep mosquito eggs from hatching. This includes treating popular rest areas, parks, and ballparks. (Source: Ryan Ordmandy/KTRE)
To combat mosquitoes, the City of Nacogdoches is split into five Mosquito District which are constantly treated to keep mosquito eggs from hatching. This includes treating popular rest areas, parks, and ballparks. (Source: Ryan Ordmandy/KTRE)

Stanley said to combat the problem, the city is split into five Mosquito District which are constantly treated to keep mosquito eggs from hatching. This includes treating popular rest areas, parks, and ballparks.

For the eggs that do hatch, Stanley said the Mosquito Districts are treated on alternating nights to keep adult mosquito populations at bay.

“It’s not gonna kill every one of them, our adulticide, but it is going to knock down the population," Stanley explained.

The City of Longview tends to focus on stopping the spread well before it starts by education residents about how and where mosquitoes tend to breed.

“We try to stay proactive instead of reactive,” said Leisha Kidd-Brooks, environmental health manager for the City of Longview.

“Spraying is kind of funny, because that’s what people grew up with. And I always tell folk if you spray you’re watching your tax money go up in the air. Eradicate, educate.”

Stagnant water is one of the biggest contributors to mosquito breeding. Draining standing water is one of the Four D's of Mosquito Protection, as well as prevention. (Source: Jamey Boyum/KLTV)
Stagnant water is one of the biggest contributors to mosquito breeding. Draining standing water is one of the Four D's of Mosquito Protection, as well as prevention. (Source: Jamey Boyum/KLTV)

Meanwhile, the City of Tyler has found the problem usually doesn’t travel far from the source; meaning, if you’re getting bit, you may want to start by looking in your own backyard.

“Mosquitoes usually don’t fly very far from where they breed,” said Shawn Markmann, director of animal services for the City of Tyler. “We’d rather go after breeding sites; if they never hatch, they never bother people.”

Aside from prevention, you can also keep in mind the Four D’s of Mosquito Protection:

  • Drain - Drain standing water in your backyard and neighborhood — old tires, flowerpots, and clogged rain gutters. These are mosquito breeding sites.
  • Deet - Deet is an ingredient to look for in your insect repellent. Follow label instructions, and always wear repellent when outdoors.
  • Dress - Dress in long sleeves and long pants when you’re outside. For extra protection, you may want to spray thin clothing with repellent.
  • Dusk and Dawn - These are the times of day you should try to stay indoors. This is when infected mosquitoes are most active.

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