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The Richardson Health Department staff conducts mosquito control activities year-round but increases those efforts from April through October, the most active mosquito season in North Texas.
The Health Department works along with the Texas Department of State Health Services, Dallas County Health and Human Services Department and area health departments to conduct surveillance and testing of the mosquito population for diseases including West Nile virus. Monitoring for mosquitos occurs year round.
Mosquito control efforts include public education, using larvicide along creeks and other stagnant bodies of water to prevent mosquito eggs from developing into adults, and monitoring and notification in neighborhoods where potential mosquito breeding areas are discovered. The City practices integrated mosquito control with the intent to disrupt the mosquito life cycle in its early stages to eliminate the number of adults, and to eliminate mosquito breeding habitats through proper water drainage.
How to Limit Mosquito Populations
Mosquitoes must have standing water in which to begin their life cycle. Almost any vessel or area of standing water presents a potential “nursery” in which mosquitoes can develop. Citizens are encouraged to eliminate mosquito-breeding areas from their home and yard. Click HERE for tips for reducing mosquitoes around your home.
About West Nile Virus
West Nile virus is a potentially serious illness. It is closely related to St. Louis encephalitis virus, which is also found in the United States. It is transmitted by a bite from an infected mosquito that's already carrying the virus.
Most people will not show any sign of infection, but many will have mild symptoms such as fever, headache and body aches. Rarely, symptoms may require medical care or hospitalization. The people who are most susceptible to the disease are the very young, the very old and those with weakened immune systems.
City Response to West Nile Virus
The Health Department schedules mosquito sprayings based on positive findings of West Nile virus in mosquito traps placed around the city. Once located, the area around the positive finding is targeted for spraying in an attempt to help limit the spread of the disease. Spraying is only one measure to help limit exposure, and health workers urge people to maintain vigilance in protecting themselves when going outside.
When Spraying Events Are Scheduled
The Health Department schedules spraying events during overnight hours to limit exposure to people who may wish to avoid contact with the pesticide used to control mosquito populations. Spraying events begin at 9 p.m. with the goal of ending by 4 a.m., though they may run until 4:30 a.m. depending upon the size of the spray area.
If aerial spraying occurs, what actions do I need to take?
The pesticide used degrades rapidly in the environment, and there is no accumulative or residual effect. However, for people concerned about exposure during aerial spraying, health officials suggest the following precautions:
- Minimize exposure. Avoid being outside, close windows and consider keeping pets inside while spraying occurs.
- If skin or clothes are exposed, wash them with soap and water.
- Rinse homegrown fruits and vegetables with water as a general precautionary measure.
- Cover small ornamental fish ponds.
- Because the chemical breaks down quickly in sunlight and water, no special precautions are suggested for outdoor swimming areas.
How to Protect Yourself
To protect from mosquito bites, people are asked to follow the Four D’s of protection:
- DRAIN standing water around the home
- Use insect repellent containing DEET
- Avoid being outdoors at DUSK and DAWN when mosquitoes are most active
- DRESS to protect yourself with long sleeves and pants to reduce skin exposure
You should also keep screens, windows and doors in good repair; fix leaky outdoor faucets and sprinklers; avoid overwatering lawns; and keep from letting birdbaths, swimming pools, pet watering dishes, flowerpots and saucers or other vessels to hold water and become stagnant.
To report a stagnant swimming pool or other potential mosquito breeding location in your neighborhood, please call the Health Department at 972-744-4080 during regular business hours, or use our Online Issue System.
Frequently Asked Questions
Centers for Disease Control
Environmental Protection Agency
Texas Department of State Health Services
Dallas County Health and Human Services