DALLAS – June 27, 2012 – Confirmed human cases of the West Nile Virus (WNV) in Dallas, Denton and Tarrant counties are leading many Texans to question whether or not they are doing all they can to protect themselves and their families from potentially harmful mosquitoes. Recent rains, coupled by a warm winter and early spring, have exacerbated this year’s mosquito activity. Local entomologists are expanding upon recommendations for residents to help manage mosquitoes in their yard.
“While checking for and removing standing water around your home, remember to check the less obvious places like tree holes, gutters, play houses, boat covers, watering cans and pet dishes,” suggests Russ Horton, entomologist and national technical director for HomeTeam Pest Defense in Dallas. “Anywhere stagnant water lies, even the smallest amount, is a potential breeding ground for mosquitoes. Eliminating these sources will make a difference in your yard.”
Trapped water can be a mosquito nursery—birdbaths, drainage pipes, tires, toys and flower pots are just a few other examples. Residents should frequently check for and empty standing water, and keep any containers upside down while not in use.
According to a recent survey by HomeTeam Pest Defense, 40 percent of homeowners in the South and 49 percent of homeowners in Dallas-Fort Worth experienced a problem with mosquitoes in 2011 and a warm winter gave them an earlier start this spring.
“Although you can’t control what your neighbors are doing to control mosquitoes, you can manage the infestations in your own backyard,” continued Horton. “As news of area neighborhoods spraying for mosquitoes picks up, we are seeing more individual homeowners seek the advice of professionals to help control the problem.”
If home remedies don’t seem to work, some pest control companies provide options to help control mosquitoes in your yard. HomeTeam Pest Defense recommends a spring through early fall treatment plan to help manage mosquitoes by directly treating breeding sites and shady areas where mosquitoes rest during the day. This treatment method stops larvae growth and destroys adult mosquitoes that come into contact with the treatment.
In addition to controlling mosquito breeding grounds, experts suggest avoiding outdoor activity during dusk and dawn. “Mosquitoes are most active during the early morning and late evening—and during the summer these are also the times of day that are the most pleasant temperature wise,” says Horton.
Covering your skin with loose-fitting long sleeve shirts and pants, and wearing insect repellent containing DEET, are other significant protective measures.
Officials and HomeTeam experts also recommend repairing cracks or tears in screen doors or windows, and sealing cracks and small openings around doors, windows, garage and utility entry points.
Although most people will suffer no serious damage from the bite of a mosquito carrying WNV, some bites can cause severe illness, especially in people over 50.
There have been four reported human cases of WNV in the U.S. this year. Three of the four human cases where reported in North Texas. Denton County officials reported the first human case of WNV on May 31, 2012. Dallas County officials reported the first human case of WNV on June 20, 2012, and Tarrant County reported its first human case the following day. To date, there have been reports of mosquito WNV in nine Texas counties: Brazoria, Brazos, Collin, Dallas, Denton, Fort Bend, Harris, Montgomery, and Tarrant.
About HomeTeam Pest Defense
HomeTeam Pest Defense, a recognized leader in the pest management industry, is the nation’s third largest residential pest control company. The company offers pest and termite control services using traditional treatment methods and advanced products, such as the innovative Taexx® built-in pest control system. The company has 50 branch locations throughout the Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, Mid- Central, Southwest and Western states. In February 2012, HomeTeam conducted a nationwide survey of homeowners to uncover the current trends and beliefs related to pests and pest control. The survey consisted of 1319 homeowners over the age of 18 across the U.S. HomeTeam is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Atlanta-based Rollins, Inc. (NYSE:ROL). You can learn more about Rollins or HomeTeam at www.rollins.com or www.pestdefense.com.
Additional sources: Texas Department of State Health Services and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Carolyn Covey Morris