Town officials in southern Denton County are concerned with the unprecedented West Nile Virus outbreak and the mosquitoes that transmit the disease. But a “one size response” does definitely not fit all situations.
As of Friday, the Denton County Health Department reported 96 West Nile virus cases and one resulting death this year. There were only six cases and one fatality reported statewide during the same period last year.
Currently, Highland Village is conducting spraying operations in designated locations. Residents are warned in advance of the specific areas to be sprayed. The city advises residents to stay indoors, and bring their pets and pet food and water bowls inside, during spraying hours from 10:30 p.m. to 4 a.m. The city also suggests that residents wipe down outside play equipment and pet feeding equipment afterwards.
Flower Mound also follows a detailed protocol for its response to the virus. Flower Mound’s Director of Environmental Services, Matthew Woods, said that the town is spraying for mosquitoes and also providing two free mosquito dunks for each household. These larvicide biscuits can be placed in stagnant water to prevent mosquito wigglers from being bred.
Argyle, Double Oak, Copper Canyon, Bartonville and Lantana officials are currently not spraying pesticide, but are encouraging residents to take measures to eliminate mosquito hatching grounds on their property.
Argyle and Bartonville officials are providing free mosquito dunks to their residents.
Copper Canyon Mayor Sue Tejml and Kevin Mercer, Lantana’s General Manager, agreed that running spray trucks through their communities is not as effective in killing mosquitoes as people may think.
“Mosquito fogging is estimated to kill 30 to 60 percent of the mosquitoes in the area sprayed,” said Tejml. “The spray kills adult mosquitoes, but not their larvae. As the mosquito’s life cycle is only seven days, the next generation can become more immune to the toxic effects of the current spray.”
Mercer said that as far as Lantana goes, the decision to spray is up to Denton County since the master planned community is in an unincorporated area.
Tejml added that the education of residents on how to protect themselves and their families is the most effective defense against contracting the disease.
Click here for West Nile prevention tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.