While McAllen residents sleep, the city is gearing up for peak mosquito season.
Stephen Kotsatos – Director of Health & Code Enforcement says, “We’ve seen a big increase in mosquito complaints from residents. We’ve had about 70 complaints that have been called in.”
With the recent rains leaving pools of standing water and combined with warm temperatures, that creates a perfect breeding ground for mosquitos which can hatch in just 3 to 5 days. From midnight until 8:00 a.m. crews in McAllen are out actively spraying for mosquitos in areas they have tested. Steven Kotsatos, Director of Code and Health Enforcement says they determine where to spray based on a landing count.
“The inspector goes out to an area and will wait one minute to see how many mosquitos land on them and then they will do an approximate count. If it’s more than 15 then we will spray the area.”
While the city of McAllen is spraying for mosquitos they also want residents to be proactive.
“You want to make sure you wear long clothing to protect yourself, wear mosquito repellant and just be aware of your surroundings.” Says Kotsatos.
Hidalgo County officials say peak mosquito time for the Rio Grande Valley is from October through December, but the recent rains may have given us an early start. Mosquitos can carry viruses like Zika, West Nile, Dengue Fever and Chickungunya. This year in Hidalgo County there has already been one West Nile case. Officials says the most important thing you can do is remove any standing water from your property.
Kotsatos adds, “Turn over any buckets, pales, tires, and anything that accumulates water. Check your gutters, any holes, in your yard, any dead trees that are on your property.”
Officials also warn of the dangers the Zika virus can cause during pregnancy. Expectant mothers should be extra cautious when outdoors.