For the City of Plano, April means the first steps of the year to prevent the West Nile virus.
On Tuesday, the city released 1,000 gambusia fish, also called mosquito fish, into the ponds at Pecan Hollow Golf Course.
“It’s a fairly economic way to control the mosquito population,” said environmental health manager Geoff Heinicke. “We’re going to let this fish grow and start trapping in the middle of the month to see what kind of impact it has.”
He adds the fish cost the city about $. 40 each.
As a natural predator to mosquito larvae, introducing the nonnative species is considered an effective and chemical-free tool to controlling the population.
Heinicke said the department is hopeful mosquito numbers will be lower this year because of a cold winter with several freezes.
In Frisco, however, Jerry Smith, owner of the Mosquito Joe franchise, a provider of “pest control” for the insects, said the mosquito season is well underway.
“They are out there — just swatted one the other day actually.”
“All it needs is 50 degrees or warmer and water,” he said, adding that his team will start spraying customers’ backyards as a way to cut down on mosquitoes within the next month.
Plano has introduced gambusia fish for at least the past two years.
The hope is the fish will continue to breed and be an effective tool for maintaining the mosquito population for years to come.