- All mosquitos breed in water; in fact, they spend 3/4 of their life cycle in standing water.
- Female mosquitos can lay 50 to 400 eggs in rafts on the water, singly on the side of a container, or in dirt along flood prone areas like ditches.
- Water temperature and organic matter will allow eggs to hatch in as few as 24 hours.
- Mosquito larvae breathe air through an air tube or siphon, and need calm water to develop.
- Adult mosquitos can emerge in as few as 3 days. Adults rest during the day, usually in buildings, plants, and moist grass.
- Female mosquitos mostly bite animals and occasionally bite humans. The blood meal is for egg development. Most mosquitos are only active at dusk, dawn, and night.
Mosquito Hotline • 325.437.4999
- Mosquitos must have water to complete their life cycle. Stop their life cycle by draining standing water on your property.
- Drain or fill in low places in your yard
- Keep gutters, culverts, and drain ditches free of grass & debris
- Adult mosquitos rest during the day. Keep grass short and shrubbery trimmed so adult mosquitos will not hide there.
- Use screens on windows and doors. Repair any holes in screens to keep mosquitos outside.
- Cover cribs, strollers, and baby carriers with mosquito netting.
- Remember the 4 D's of Mosquito Protection
There are several mosquito-borne encephalitic arboviruses in Texas.
- Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE)
- Western Equine Encephalitis (WEE)
- St. Louis Encephalitis (SLE)
- LaCrosse Encephalitis (LAC)
- West Nile Virus (WNV)
West Nile Virus
WNV is a mosquito-borne virus that can result in serious illness and sometimes death. The virus can infect humans, birds, horses, and other mammals. Humans become infected when bitten by an infected mosquito. Incidence of WNV is higher in infants and persons over 50 years of age; however, any individual can contract WNV.
WNV is spread by the Culex species of mosquito. They tend to bite from dusk to dawn. Be aware when planning activities during this time always remember the 4 D's of Mosquito Protection.
Zika Virus, Dengue Fever, Chikungunya
Zika Virus, Dengue Fever, and Chikungunya are also diseases that mosquitos can transmit to humans. In this area, two species (Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus) can carry these viruses. These species lay their eggs on the walls of water-filled containers. Eggs stick to containers like glue and remain attached until they are scrubbed off. When water covers the eggs, they hatch and become adults in about a week.
Adult mosquitos live inside and outside, and prefer to bite during the day. A few infected mosquitos can produce large outbreaks in a community and put your family at risk of becoming sick.
Protect yourself, your family, and your community by eliminating all standing water in and around your home. Drain, scrub, turn over, cover, or throw out items that hold water. Tightly cover water storage containers (like rain barrels) so that mosquitos cannot get inside to lay eggs. For containers without lids, use wire mesh with holes smaller than an adult mosquito. Always remember the 4 D's of Mosquito Protection.
For more information, visit cdc.gov/zika
Wear Proper ClothingProtect yourself from mosquito bites by wearing:
- Loose-fitting clothing
- Many mosquitos can bite through tight-fitting clothing
- Long-sleeved shirts & pants
- Light-colored clothing
- Many mosquitos are attracted to dark clothing
- Clothing that is treated with permethrin
- Clothing treated with permethrin can protect after multiple washes
Dress your children to protect them, or use mosquito netting to cover cribs, strollers, & baby carriers
- Loose-fitting clothing
Using Insect RepellentSkin Repellent:
- Use an EPA registered repellent
- Active Ingredients: DEET, Picaridin, Bayrepel, Icaridin, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (OLE), Para-menthane-diol (PMD), IR3535
- Always follow all label instructions
- Reapply every few hours, depending on the product and strength
- If you are also using sunscreen, apply sunscreen first, and insect repellent second
- Do not use on children under 2 months of age
- Do not apply repellent into a child's hands, eyes, mouth, and cut or irritated skin
- Spray repellent into your hands and then apply to a child's face
- Use permethrin to treat clothing
- Follow product instructions when treating clothing yourself
- Purchase permethrin-treated clothing & gear
- Permethrin-treated clothes will protect you after multiple washings
- Do not use permethrin directly on the skin
The EPA has not evaluated natural repellents, but they may also be useful
(Citronella oil, cedar oil, geranium oil, peppermint oil, or soybean oil)
- Use an EPA registered repellent
Mosquitos Need Water to BreedEliminate standing water from:
- Children's toys
- Swimming pool covers
- Recycling containers
- Leaky outdoor faucets
- Canoes & other boats
- Tree holes
- Low areas in your yard
- Overturned garbage can lids
- Bottles, barrels, buckets, etc
Keep other water sources clean:
- Bird baths
- Pet water dishes
- Swimming pools
- Keep pools clean & circulating year round
- Roof gutters
Even the smallest of containers that collect water can breed hundreds to thousands of mosquitos
Peak Times for MosquitosIf you have activities planned during dusk & dawn, protect yourself & your family accordingly:
- Wear long-sleeved shirts & pants
- Use mosquito repellent
Try to plan activities later in the day to avoid mosquitos
Spraying for Adult Mosquitos
If West Nile virus is detected in the city limits, the Environmental Health’s Mosquito Controls initial response will be to intensify its efforts to reduce mosquito breeding sites and increase its levels of larviciding in those areas in which West Nile virus has been found. Reducing the adult mosquito population with pesticides (adulticide) approved by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will be done if necessary to prevent human illness or to suppress a heavy nuisance infestation of mosquitos. The decision to spray, by truck mounted sprayers, will be based on surveillance information or the documentation of West Nile virus activity at a level that indicates a threat to human health. Spraying will be concentrated in areas most at risk for disease occurrence and will be conducted by certified and licensed applicators. The programs aggressive campaign against mosquito larvae is intended to minimize the need to use adulticide.
When necessary, we will use ground application of pesticides to kill mosquitos that pose a low health risk to the residents of Abilene and our environment. In the case of adulticide, only targeting adult mosquitos, we would use botanical insecticides (plant derived compounds) or synthetic versions of, which include pyrethrins and synthetic pyrethroids, as well as piperonyl butoxide. In an emergency situation, we may use malathion or sumithrin. All of the products we use are registered with the Environmental Protection Agency and applied according to label directions by our trained and certified technicians. Mosquito adulticides is applied as ultra-low volume (ULV) sprays. ULV applications involve small quantities of active ingredient in relation to the size of the area treated, typically less than 2 ounces per acre, which minimizes exposure and risk to people and the environment.
The spraying will take place in areas of concern, as determined by our mosquito and disease surveillance programs. Our trained and certified technicians use a variety of surveillance techniques and treatment criteria to ensure effective mosquito control with the least amount of risk to our residents and our environment. Typically there will be a ½ mile radius sprayed from where the West Nile Virus + mosquito pool is located.
There are several factors that go into a determination by Environmental Health to use an adulticide to control mosquitos, they are:
- Surveillance of adult populations – over 300 oviposited females per night caught in trap.
- A positive sample for West Nile Virus or other Arbovirus from the Texas Department of Health Services lab.
- Restrictions from the EPA on specific pesticides to protect the environment.
- When was the last time that area had been sprayed and is there water sources in the area producing mosquito larvae?
- Weather plays a large factor. EPA pesticides are only allowed to be sprayed prior to dawn and after dusk and the wind speed must be less than 10mph and cool temperatures (less than 90 degrees). So that limits the time we can spray adulticide.
Generally, there is no need to relocate during mosquito control spraying. The pesticides have been evaluated for this use and found to pose minimal risks to human health and the environment when used according to label directions. Although mosquito control pesticides pose low risks, some people may prefer to avoid or further minimize exposure. Some common sense steps to help reduce possible exposure to pesticides include:
- People who suffer from chemical sensitivities or feel spraying may aggravate a preexisting health condition, may consult their physician and take special measures to avoid exposure.
- Close windows and turn off window-unit air conditioners when spraying is taking place in the immediate area.
- Keep children's toys indoors.