Protecting yourself from mosquitoes

September 20, 2018

HARLINGEN — With rain, comes mosquitoes — the annoying little pests that like to buzz in your ear and make painful red bite marks on your skin you can’t resist scratching.

Unfortunately, downpours the Valley received throughout the last week created ideal conditions for mosquitoes to lay eggs anywhere they can find stagnant water, which is predominantly around yards.

Harlingen health director Josh Ramirez said the biggest efforts to control mosquitoes come from the citizens themselves by eliminating standing water around their homes.

“This is a huge help for preventing thousands of mosquitoes from hatching over and over in standing water,” Ramirez said. “Standing water, even as little as one drop, can serve as a breeding ground for mosquitoes.”

Additionally, people are encouraged to mow their yard at least once a week.

Mosquitoes tend to hide in tall grass to prevent being hit by pesticides, so eliminating these hiding areas would be a tremendous help to get rid of these pests.

According to Ramirez, weather is a leading factor of mosquitoes’ behavior and growth.

For example, hot and sunny days after it rains could help mosquito larvae grow faster within three days.

However, when the weather is cool, mosquito larvae could take around seven to 10 days to hatch.

City officials want to prevent being wasteful with their insecticide spraying when there’s a chance for rain.

Rain will wash away the insecticide and mosquito killing won’t be as effective.

Currently, they are assessing areas that have standing water to begin spraying and larviciding once there are no longer any chances of rain this week.

“Rain is a huge factor in our efforts,” Ramirez said. “If we throw insecticide granules in standing water or if we spray, the humidity and the mist in the air are going to dissipate it and make it less effective. So, we have to wait until we have an almost 100 percent guarantee that there’s no rain coming so we can be more effective with our spraying.”

It’s important to keep in mind that mosquitoes transmit a variety of diseases, such as Zika, Dengue, Malaria, West Nile, Chikungunya and Saint Louis Encephalitis. So the best thing to do is to protect yourself from them.

“Mosquitoes are never going to be 100 percent gone even after we spray because they hide in buildings and shrubs. So please help yourself from being bitten by wearing repellent and proper clothing, such as long-sleeves and pants,” Ramirez said.

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