Corpus Christi residents are encouraged to put their guard up a little earlier this year when it comes to protection and prevention against mosquitoes. The warm humid weather and plenty of man-made and natural water sources, including neglected swimming pools, flowerpot saucers, and storm drains, provide excellent breeding conditions and habitat for mosquitoes to thrive.

The Corpus Christi Vector Control section consists of three (3) fulltime employees, who are responsible for a number of other key tasks besides mosquito spraying. From 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., they are responsible for pesticide treatment of all city buildings, collecting and processing mosquitoes from the various traps throughout the city, and swarming bee eradication. Employees check approximately 27 mosquito traps each morning, and then observe the trapped mosquitoes under a microscope to determine the exact species. Large numbers of mosquitoes in certain areas suggest residents should take extra precautions when outdoors and the area may need to be fogged. The areas to be sprayed are determined by the number of mosquitoes caught in traps, not by the number of complaints coming into the City Call Center.

Vector Control can only spray for mosquitoes when it is not raining and the wind speed is low. The pesticide dissipates very quickly when it comes in contact with the ground, especially if there is any dew. Even then, thefogger only kills the mosquitoes that are actually airborne and come in direct contact with the pesticide at the time of the spraying, so it is not effective for any great period of time. Since the fog only kills the airborne mosquitoes, spraying only occurs during evening hours, usually between 7:00 p.m. and Midnight. It is estimated that the fog only kills one third of the total mosquito population. At this time, no specific areas have been identified for special fogging.

Although Vector Control employees do their best to reduce the number of pest mosquitoes citywide, CCACS urges residents to take these personal precautions to avoid being bitten: Use an approved insect repellent every time you go outside and follow the instructions on the label. Approved repellents are those that contain DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus; Regularly drain standing water, including water that collects in empty cans, tires, bird feeders, buckets, clogged rain gutters and saucers under potted plants. Mosquitoes breed in stagnant water. Purchase mosquito donuts (dunks) at retail stores that kill mosquito larvae in standing water.

Wear long sleeves and pants at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active and use air conditioning or make sure there are screens on all doors and windows to keep mosquitoes from entering the home.

To further prevent mosquito infestation, keep grass cut and yards maintained, and treat the yard for mosquitoes, fleas, and pests.

To learn more about mosquito bite prevention, please see the DSHS website at www.dshs.state.tx.us/idcu/disease/arboviral/westNile/.