Private mosquito control companies are enjoying big business in North Texas this spring.
Michael Bosco with Safe Haven Pest Control said customers are concerned about the chance for mosquito carried diseases and the prevalence of bugs already biting this year.
“We can’t keep up with our mosquito sprays at all. The weather is not helping us, but the demand for mosquito applications has sky rocketed,” Bosco said.
Bosco uses Mosquito Steve products that claim to be safe for people and pets.
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Steve Moore who runs Mosquito Steve said his products are selling earlier than normal this year.
“I’ve been doing radio interviews all over the country because people are worried about Zika virus,” Moore said. “Here’s the important thing, though, West Nile virus is probably going to be more prevalent this year.”
After recent rain, there’s plenty of standing water to breed disease carrying mosquitoes in North Texas. This year’s fourth Tarrant County human case of Zika virus, reported Friday, highlighted the threat. That person recently traveled to Puerto Rico.
No North Texas mosquitoes have been found testing positive for Zika. But the disease that’s linked to birth defects is expected to show up in North Texas mosquitoes eventually. Zika could spread in North Texas if mosquitoes that bite an infected person transmit the disease to other people.
Deadly West Nile Virus has been found in North Texas mosquitoes again this year.
“It’s definitely a big concern for me,” said Safe Haven customer Lori Bannon. “I’m immune suppressed, so there’s a big concern for me with Zika or West Nile. And then I have my elderly parents living here with me, so it’s a big concern for them.”
Bannon has her yard sprayed twice a month and also has a misting system around the house that uses Mosquito Steve insect repellent.
“We want to be able to use our yard. We have this gorgeous yard and patio,” she said.
The variety of mosquitoes that carry West Nile virus is most active at dawn and dusk.
The variety of mosquitoes known to carry Zika virus is active around the clock and more likely to be found close to homes and buildings.
“If you’re getting bitten by mosquitoes, then basically, there is a breeding opportunity somewhere,” Dallas County Health Director Zachary Thompson said.
Professional pest control people can be helpful, but Thompson said residents can fight on their own by removing standing water where mosquitoes breed.
“Definitely do an assessment around your home,” Thompson said. “We’re talking about breeding opportunities that cannot be identified unless you as a homeowner do an assessment.”
Flower pots and bird baths are examples of routine household fixtures that can foster disease.
“Anything that gives a chance for mosquitoes to breed around your home needs to be eliminated,” Thompson said.