Generic mosquito

Hurricane Harvey bit the Crossroads again, this time in the form of a mosquito outbreak that has those residents who can racing inside.

Michael E. Merchant, a professor and entomology specialist with Texas A&M AgriLife Service in Dallas, said the salt marsh mosquitoes are aggressive biters, but they aren't the type of mosquitoes that carry human diseases.

However, they do begin to breed quickly upon arrival.

"Because they are breeding from widespread areas, they fly long distances and are very difficult to control in cities," Merchant said.

After breeding, an increase in mosquitoes that could potentially be harmful is seen within the first two weeks after a storm.

Chris Van Deusen, director of media relations with the Texas Department of State Health Services, said the agency is monitoring the outbreak.

"The history is mixed because in some cases there has been a growing number of diseases after this kind of situation, but in other cases there aren't," Van Deusen said.

Reports of West Nile Virus and Zika have become a major concern in the United States, but Van Deusen said the agency has not seen many cases this year.

"The flood may not attract the Zika virus, but it's still good to take those precautions," Van Deusen said.

While Zika has not been reported in the Victoria area, Van Deusen and Merchant said, it's important for residents to help control mosquitoes by removing storm debris and standing water from the home.

"Whether it's in toys, buckets, tires or flower pots, dump any standing water away from your home," Van Deusen said.

The sooner residents can remove debris away from their homes, the better.

"That debris needs to be cleaned up or it will act as holding water for those mosquitoes to live in," Merchant said.

Larvicide is another product to use if residents cannot remove standing water that will prevent mosquitoes from breeding.

"Larvicide is a natural product that contains an organism that kills the larva," Van Deusen said.

The city of Victoria began spraying for mosquitoes Friday evening. Fog trucks will continue to operate in the evening after 8 p.m. and in the early hours of the morning until the situation subsides.

It is recommended that residents stay indoors until the truck passes and the fog subsides.

"If you are around the most affected areas, wear long, light-colored clothing and continue to apply insect repellent as directed," Merchant said.


Lauren Hernandez graduated from Texas A&M University-Kingsville with a bachelor's degree in Communications-Journalism.