Texoma residents are facing one unwanted pest alongside all the increased rains this year. The Grayson County Health Department said there has been an increase in mosquito activity this year.
Grayson County Health Department Environmental Health Manager Jeff Lillis said the insects thrive in warm, wet areas and the insects, known for their unwelcome bite, are breeding right now.
“They like warmer temperatures,” Lillis said. “Anytime you have moisture and warm temperatures their abundance increases. Their life-cycles progress quicker and they develop faster. It expedites the life cycle as they will be breeding during the summer.”
Lillis said the most common form of the insect in the area is the Culex quinquefasciatus, commonly referred to as the southern house mosquito.
The health department sets traps to capture the female when she is ready to lay her eggs and will send those off for testing for the West Nile virus. Lillis said the county health department also tests for insects that could carry the Zika virus but he said that is more of a precaution as the species that carries that virus isn’t as common in this part of the country.
The biggest issue to look out for is any areas with standing water. The best course of action is to remove the water and spray insecticide in the area.
Lillis said if it is not possible to remove the water, then consider looking for a product that will prevent the larva from developing into adults since the insects like to lay their eggs in places where water stands and collects bacteria and other organisms. Lillis said the common places to check are tires, gutters and ditches as well as low lying areas in yards.
And for those spending time outdoors, the best way to avoid the insects is to wear long sleeve clothing with long pants and to wear bug sprays containing 20 percent deet. Lillis said doing that while avoiding being outdoors between dusk and dawn increase ones chances of avoid the insect’s irritating bite.
Individuals who are susceptible to bites or who have a weakened immune system are more likely to experience symptoms from a mosquito bite, and Lillis said an insect bite is like any open wound and should be treated accordingly to avoid infection.
He also cautioned that if someone sees standing water while they are out, it is best to contact the health department or the local city government to address the issues.
While the West Nile season typically comes later in the summer, Lillis said that doesn’t mean people shouldn’t take the proper precautions as there have already been cases reported in Dallas this year.
And humans are not the only ones to worry about the insects, Lillis said. The bites can cause heart worms in dogs and cats so it is best to remove any standing water on a person’s property. Individuals can also use pesticides or contact a pest control agency to fight any possible infestations.
What home remedies have you used to help get rid of mosquitoes. Let reporter Richard A. Todd know at RTodd@HeraldDemocrat.com.