North Texas Prepares for Active Mosquito Season

Battle lines are being drawn in this year's fight against the bite.

Several hundred mosquito traps are now placed each week across the Dallas-Fort Worth area, capturing mosquitoes that could potentially carry the West Nile virus.

"We're starting to see virus earlier this year than we have in years past," said Municipal Mosquito's Patrick Prather. "Only time will tell through the summer how that's going to play out."

Working with many local governments, the Richardson company places nearly 100 traps in seven North Texas counties, and says the number of mosquitoes caught each night has been rising dramatically over the last week-and-a-half.

"The rain that we had last season, and then the relatively wet winter that we had, all the breeding sites around the Metroplex that may not have been charged in the last 25 or 30 years now have water in them," Prather said.

There are some fears conditions this summer are shaping up like those in 2012, when a West Nile virus outbreak killed 89 people in Texas.

"We're starting to see some reports comparing to 2012," said Prather. "In that we had a mild winter, we had a wet spring."

Spray trucks are ready to roll, but personal prevention can go a long way.

"Wear your repellent, wear your repellent, wear your repellent," said Prather. "Protect yourself and protect your family."

How to Protect Yourself From Mosquito Bites
  • Dress in long sleeves, pants when outside: For extra protection, spray thin clothing with repellent.
  • DEET: Make sure this ingredient is in your insect repellent.
  • Drain standing water in your yard and neighborhood: Mosquitoes can develop in any water stagnant for more than three days.

It has been recommended in the past that to avoid mosquito bites you should avoid being outdoors during Dusk and Dawn (the 4 Ds). While this is true for mosquitoes that commonly carry the West Nile virus, other types of mosquitoes that are more likely to carry Zika, dengue and chikungunya are active during the day. When outdoors, no matter what time of day, adjust your dress accordingly and wear insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus as your first line of defense against insect bites.

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