Fort Worth Set to Spray for Mosquitoes Again

Westcreek Neighborhood set to be sprayed a second time

This week, crews will be out spraying again in Fort Worth in the same area they sprayed just three weeks ago.

In late July, the Westcreek area was the first to be sprayed for mosquitoes carrying the West Nile virus in the city in three years. The second round of spray trucks is set to roll out on Wednesday and Thursday nights.

Fort Worth is very targeted on where and when it sprays. It only sprayed one night back in July trying to see if that one night would yield the same as their historical three nights of spraying.

"I know they sprayed a couple of weeks ago, back over here in our backyard and up here," said Fort Worth resident Miguel Escamilla.

Thanks to the sign that's now in his yard, Escamilla knows it's about to happen again.

"Figured it was probably a matter of time," Escamilla said.

Escamilla says he's seen the evidence of mosquitoes in pools of water as he and his wife have walked around the neighborhood. He often fills a small spray bottle with bleach to spray into those puddles to try and eliminate any possible mosquito breeding.

"You can see the little larvae swimming around in it," he said.

The city likely wouldn't recommend using bleach, but does want residents to participate by eliminating source pools across the city.

City environmental leaders believe that is the best approach to beating West Nile virus. The city rarely sprays and when it does, it is highly targeted to areas where positive mosquito pools have been caught in traps.

While crews sprayed in late July in the Westcreek area around Fort Worth Fire Station 29, they'll be back out again this week because they only sprayed for one night.

"What we found in this particular neighborhood was we did one night and we knocked down better than half the mosquitoes," said Code Compliance Director Brandon Bennett. "But we're still capturing mosquitoes that are positive for the virus, so we're going to spray a couple of nights and get the rest of the them knocked down."

The city typically does three consecutive nights of spraying, but Bennett says they're experimenting to see if it can be just as effective with using less chemicals. While the chemicals are diluted and deemed safe, the city would like to limit their use if it can.

"What we're trying to find is the exact formula," Bennett said.

Code compliance collaborates with the UNT Health Sciences Center to trap, occasionally test and study the virus and how the city can better defend against it and combat it when it becomes problematic.

Bennett says the weather this year has led to a huge increase in mosquitoes being caught in traps. He says they're catching more this year than they did during the epidemic season of 2012. He says if we got rain every 7 to 10 days it would keep the mosquitoes washed out and unable to develop. But after getting lots of rain and now no rain for 40 days, it's the perfect conditions and we're hitting the peak of the West Nile season.

"This is when you see West Nile virus really starting to pop," Bennett said.

Which is why the efforts of residents like Escamilla remain so important.

"Make sure there's no standing water," Escamilla said.

If the rain on Wednesday interferes with the scheduled spray times of 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., the spraying will be pushed back a day.

The Westcreek neighborhood isn't the only area that may see spray trucks roll out. Two Northside neighborhoods, around Fort Worth Fire Stations 12 and 15, could see spraying on August 21 and 22 if additional testing deems it relevant.

There will be a public meeting on Wednesday at the North Tri-Ethnic Community Center at 2950 Roosevelt Ave. at 6:30 p.m. to discuss public education, what residents can to and the possibility of spraying in the area.

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