Christine Lee, NBC 5 Irving Reporter
The City of Irving is collecting data to decide if the city will need to spray for mosquitoes in the battle against West Nile Virus.
City leaders in Irving are collecting data from mosquito test samples to see how much aerial spraying may be needed.
Irving has had 13 confirmed cases of West Nile virus and one suspected case so far.
City Manager Tommy Gonzalez has held off on spraying residential areas because of aerial-spraying concerns throughout the city.
"I think that just spraying for the sake of spraying would not be wise," he said. "I mean, obviously it is something that is of concern and it's a public safety concern, but I also think education is important."
The city is conducting an experiment using low-tech mosquito traps.
"The fan works two ways," said Tom Dickens, vector control technician. "It will bring the mosquitoes in, and the mosquitoes will not be able to get out of the net once they're trapped in it."
Results from the trappings will give the city a better idea about where aerial spraying may be necessary.
"We're looking at a hybrid right now," Gonzalez said. "We're looking at potentially spraying areas that are not populated by people -- our greenbelts, like along the Campion and maybe along the Trinity."
The city is also stepping up its marketing strategy to raise mosquito awareness. The city made about 50 signs to place throughout major intersections, parks and recreation centers. The signs have a large drawing of a mosquito and give a number to call if people see areas of standing water. City officials are hoping residents will call if they come across any areas of concern.
Walter Ritchie, Parks and Recreation Department spokesman, said the city has gotten about 200 calls since May, most seeking help with mosquito-related issues.
"About 40 percent of them are asking for spraying; they want spraying," he said. "About 10 percent are asking for material and education about what to do about it."
Gonzalez said residents also need to take the proper precautions to protect themselves.
"I think people spraying themselves and wearing the proper clothing when they go out -- a lot of the common sense types of things that we did when we were kids -- are the types of things people need to still do," he said.