After a record-setting year of West Nile virus cases in Tarrant County last summer, the city of Arlington is getting a head start this year in hopes of reducing the spread of the virus.
Last year, the city launched its campaign in July as the virus took hold, sickening hundreds of North Texans. This year, the city plans to begin its campaign as early as April.
"[We were] caught a little bit off guard by the intensity of the outbreak last year and so we wanted to start a little bit earlier this year," Assistant Fire Chief David Carroll said.
Despite last year's late start, the city noticed immediate results so it will stick to a similar approach this year that includes surveillance, monitoring and larvicide, he said.
Arlington plans to put out about 40 mosquito traps citywide throughout the summer.
"I think it's a real good idea," said Kenny Pierce, who lives in a central Arlington neighborhood where a cluster of infected mosquitoes were found last year.
"[It will] keep people from getting sick [and] keep the infections and everything down," he said.
Edgar Delarosa and his family live in the same neighborhood. Their home backs up to stream, where he says they see scores of mosquitoes every day during the summer.
"I have little brothers; there are a lot of kids running around here," he said. "I think it's essential for us to get started right now then later on when the virus can start breaking out."
Carroll said the city will take care of public areas, but residents can also do their part.
"They can take care of those areas like children's toys, flower beds, flower pots, swing sets -- things like that that can hold small amounts of water are great places for mosquitoes to breed and grow," he said.
Mother Nature is also helping slow mosquito breeding this year.
"We've had more freezes than we did last year, so we're hoping that will have an impact on the mosquito population," Carroll said.