Mosquitoes are considered as an annoying pest.
They are known to carry disease and gather where there is standing water.
We head out with a team, considered by some, as the first line of defense against disease.
City of Brownsville Vector Control Officer Fred Barnes says, “We do things a lot of the residents don’t know that we do. We’re here to basically take care of the citizens of Brownsville. We do a lot of things behind closed doors. A lot of things a lot of people see that we do.”
Mosquitoes can help carry diseases such as Zika, Dengue Fever, or Chikungunya. As long as these and other diseases exist, local vector control is there to help. Unlike other parts of the country, in the Rio Grande Valley it is always mosquito season.
“When it comes to the state they accept mosquitoes April through October. So once they stop accepting mosquitoes, we still trap them just to get a count,” says Barnes.
Some cities, like the city of Brownsville, have a Vector control team that captures mosquitoes out in the wild. They set traps in different spots throughout the city and submit them for testing in the state capital. The reason: to identify any disease in these blood sucking insects.
“At the moment,” says Barnes, “not in the mosquitoes from the ones we’re sending to Austin. We haven’t had anything positive.”
Their capturing has been ongoing every week for many years. Vector control has other duties such as spraying after rain, handling bees, or taking preventative steps against mosquitoes. Most of their services can be requested by anyone.
“When it comes to the city, we’re always proactive on everything we do when it comes to mosquitoes,” says Barnes.
And even though their job may go unnoticed by many, they are playing a role in keeping the community safe.
Not all cities in the Rio Grande Valley conduct mosquito trapping and testing.
The state of Texas has regulations in place to test an area… in case an outbreak occurs.
Members from the Brownsville Health Department say they are proactive when it comes to mosquitoes.