City, county battling the buzz of mosquitoes
May 24, 2010 at 12:24 a.m.
Updated May 25, 2010 at 12:25 a.m.
HELP CONTROL 'SKEETERS
People can help control the mosquito population by:
Eliminating standing water in rain gutters, old tires, buckets, plastic covers or any other container where mosquitoes can breed.
Emptying and changing the water in bird baths, fountains, wading pools, rain barrels and potted plant trays at least once a week.
Drain or fill temporary pools of water with dirt.
Keep swimming pool water treated and circulating.
Keep the lawn mowed.
SOURCE: Environmental Protection Agency (www.epa.gov) and Victoria City-County Health Department
Rudy Perez tries to stay away from the hordes of mosquitoes that have invaded the Crossroads recently, but they can't be avoided altogether.
"They are terrible. They are as big as horseflies," he said. "I go out as little as possible, especially after dark."
Perez said that when he takes his dogs out for a walk, he not only sprays himself but also the canines with Off.
"Mosquitoes can carry all kinds of diseases and even your pets need to be protected," said the Victoria resident.
The more than 7 inches of rain that fell last week is the main reason for the increase in the mosquito population, said Doug Cochran, director of parks and recreation for the city of Victoria. His department is responsible for spraying for mosquitoes in the Victoria city limits.
It takes about three days of fogging to cover the entire city, said O.C. Garza, city public information officer.
City crews sprayed on both Saturday and Sunday morning, but Mother Nature often provides an obstacle to fighting the flying nuisances.
Both Cochran and Cindy Shilinga, a registered sanitarian with the county health department that sprays for mosquitoes in the county, said that if winds are blowing at 10 mph or more, they can't spray. Rain, too, prevents spraying as do temperatures at 90 degrees or above.
Both the city and county have also used a larvacide to kill eggs laid in standing water.
"Our goal is to get every county road sprayed at least twice this week," Shilinga said. "We'll keep spraying as long as the wind lets up."
Crews attempt to spray from about dawn until 9:30 or 10 a.m. and from dusk until about 10:30 p.m.
Shilinga said the spraying efforts are limited to county roads. The county cannot spray on private property.
"If you live more than 15 or 20 feet off the road, you'll have to take matters in your own hands," said Dr. Bain Cate, health department director. "We encourage everyone to lather up with mosquito repellant if you have to get out."
On Monday, the Victoria County Commissioners Court approved a budget amendment of $7,000 for the health department to beef up mosquito eradication efforts.
"We're doing the best we can," Cate said. "It's overwhelming."