AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — They are tiny, they are annoying, and now that summer is here, mosquitoes are out and about.
“Mosquitoes are everywhere,” said Anthony Spanel, the environmental health director for the Amarillo Area Public Health District.
Though we may just now really be seeing them, mosquito season typically starts in about March and continues through about October or November.
“Sometimes those timeframes can shorten or lengthen depending upon the weather and the rain,” said Spanel.
The amount of rainfall during the past few weeks is opening the opportunity for mosquitos to thrive and breed quickly.
“They grow from larva stage to adult stage and about five to seven days.”
This is where the City of Amarillo steps in to help.
“We have a team of people that go out every single day that check for breeding sites. They do surveillance, they put out larvicide chemicals … that can prevent the mosquito’s growth,” said Spanel. “We also have an adulticiding program. If our larviciding fails to control, we go out we spray for the adult mosquitoes.”
Spanel said the adult method is not as effective as the larvacide method, so that is where they need people’s help to control areas that could attract mosquitos.
Spanel said to check out your property and to remember the slogans “Tip and Toss” and “Drain and Mow”.
“Any kind of standing water, it’s where mosquitoes use to breed,” said Spanel. “I was walking down the street the other day and I saw an old Chick-fil-A, little sauce container that had water in it. Something like that could grow 100 mosquitoes in seven days. So [if] you see that stuff, toss it out, drain that water.”
Spanel also said to keep your grass mowed fairly low.
“Adult mosquitoes like to hide in that during the day. They come out during dawn and dusk mostly. So when it’s really hot, really windy outside, they hide in the ground. So if you cut that stuff down, they get blown away by the wind and they die pretty easily,” said Spanel.
Mosquitos are not just annoying, they also carry and transmit diseases.
“The disease most prevalent in our area is West Nile,” said Spanel. “There’s really two forms. You have a West Nile that you can kind of get sick on and then you have a neuroinvasive West Nile, they make you really sick and have lifelong implications.”
Spanel said West Nile is common in our area, so that is why they need the community’s help in taking preventative measures.
As for protecting yourself when you head outdoors, you might also think about the “3 D’s” of mosquito prevention:
- As mentioned, empty anything that collects where mosquitoes can breed.
- Wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
- Tighter fitting closes make it easier for mosquitoes to find your skin.
- Use mosquito repellent.
“We need the community’s help. It doesn’t work if my team is the only one helping out,” said Spanel.