Are you a mosquito magnet?

They seem to come out of nowhere. They find you when you’re gardening, walking the dog, checking the mail – with no respect for personal space. It’s pretty annoying how good they are at sneaking up on us. But why are they so good at finding us? 

Keen senses

Mosquitoes use a highly tuned sensory system to zero in on their next blood meal. From as far as 200 feet, mosquitoes can sense the carbon dioxide we exhale and are pulled closer to the source in hopes of a quick bite.

Once the carbon dioxide has drawn her (only females bite) within sight, she is further attracted by dark colors and high-contrast patterns. So remember to choose long, loose, light-colored clothing with a tight weave as a good first defense against female mosquitos. She seeks a blood meal, not to feed herself, but in pursuit of protein to make eggs.   

Did you know?

Mosquitos drink plant nectar to fuel their bodies and pollinate plants in the process.

Getting warmer

When within three feet the mosquito can sense your heat signature, differentiating you from say, a park bench. Investigating further, she hones in on a specific area to land using “smells” she picks up through her antennae. Lactic acid, uric acid, and ammonia in sweat, as well as the scent of fabric softeners, perfumes and colognes can all attract mosquitoes.  

Cloaking spray

Mosquito repellants fight the bite two ways. One is to jam chemical signals from reaching a mosquito’s antennae. The other is to be offensive to the mosquito once she lands and can “taste” it with her feet.  Repellents may use one or both approaches – termed primary and secondary repellency.  

As we each have a unique chemical signature, try a few repellents to find the one that’s most effective for you. Look on the front of the bottle to find one of the active ingredients the CDC recommends: Picaridin, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus, DEET, or IR3535. What works best for you might be different from your partner or kids

Sensory trickery

The Mosquito Surveillance & Education Program of The Woodlands Township uses the mosquito’s keen sensory perception to our advantage. We use a variety of lures and baits to attract mosquitoes into traps for weekly monitoring throughout the Township. For example, the Biogents Sentinel trap uses a lure that smells a lot like stinky gym socks. It also has a high-contrast color pattern and can be made more appealing by the addition of dry ice to emit carbon dioxide. These three features mimic a human host, drawing the mosquitoes close enough to be sucked into a net by a battery-powered fan. The captured mosquitoes are collected the next morning and sent to a laboratory for identification and disease testing. Tracking changes in the number of mosquitoes caught, species present, and disease trends over time provides the foundation for mosquito control activities in The Woodlands.

Learn more about mosquitoes and how to reduce the risk of mosquito-borne disease at http://www.thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov/MosquitoInfo. To report a mosquito concern email enviro@thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov or call 281-210-3800. 

It’s Pollinator Week!

Celebrate the valuable ecosystem services provided by bees, birds, butterflies, bats and beetles during National Pollinator Week, June 20-26 2022. 

A celebration of pollination 

When pollen is moved within a flower, or carried from one flower to another, it leads to fertilization, an essential step in reproducing flowers, fruit, and plants. The vast majority of flowering plants depend on insects and animals for pollination, including 35% of the world’s food crops like almonds, coffee, avocados and so much more. 

More than 99% of pollinators are beneficial insects – flies, beetles, wasps, ants, butterflies, moths and bees. Unfortunately, pollinator populations are in decline, mostly due to pesticides and the loss of feeding and nesting habitat.  

Ten Things You Can Do in Your Yard to Encourage Pollinators 

1. Plant a pollinator garden—provide nectar and feeding plants (flowers and herbs). Visit our website for more information on planting a pollinator garden or register your existing garden. 

2. Provide a water source—place shallow dishes of water in sunny areas or create a muddy spot. 

3. Provide shelter and overwintering habitat (bee boxes, undisturbed soil areas, and piles of woody debris). 

4. Stop using pesticides. Use natural alternatives

5. Provide sunny areas out of the wind – a sun drenched stone near a shrub is a perfect place to rest and recharge. 

6. Plant native species. Mimic local natural areas by selecting native plants. Bluebonnets and black-eyed susans aren’t just roadside beauties. Make your pollinator garden a showstopper with native plants and wildflowers for your neighbors and pollinators to enjoy.   

7. Grow flowers throughout the seasons. Provide a variety of colors and shapes. 

8. Plant in clumps and layers. Use trees, shrub layers, with some low growing perennials and vines—intermix with flowering annuals. 

9. Use compost instead of commercial fertilizers. 

10. Look but do not touch. More than being mindful of a potential sting, pollinators are delicate insects easily harmed if handled. Take a photo instead! 


Come celebrate pollinators, and more of our natural world, on Saturday, June 25. Join the Environmental Services Department and nature specialists at our annual BioBlitz. Learn about our migrating bird populations, try your hand at insect identification, explore the weird world of mushrooms and investigate what’s living in our waterways.  

Stop by the Recreation Center at Rob Fleming Park with the whole family between 8 – 11 a.m. Bring your mobile device to access the iNaturalist app and make as many observations as you can while exploring the recreation campus and the nearby George Mitchell Nature Preserve. Staff will be available to assist with iNaturalist. 

Click the button below for more information on this free event. 

Care about water? Become a water specialist!

Get certified this summer! Join the corps of well-informed volunteer specialists who provide education, outreach, and service to keep our local water bodies healthy. This unique certification program, made possible by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) and The Woodlands Township Environmental Services Department, is offered to both students (grades 9 – 12) and adults.

You can be certified as a Texas Waters Specialist after completing just 8 hours of training based on the Texas Waters curriculum guide. You’ll receive a certificate and an official pin designating you as a certified waters specialist. Then volunteer with The Woodlands Township and other local agencies to educate and work beside your neighbors in protecting local aquatic resources.

The good news: you can attend classes to obtain the needed training hours right here in The Woodlands! The Environmental Services Department has several class dates scheduled through the summer. If you need more information, email enviro@thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov with the subject line: water specialist inquiry.

Get started today and register as a TPWD volunteer here. For more detailed instructions on how to register, follow along with this document.

To earn your hours through The Woodlands Township, register for an upcoming class here.

Upcoming water lab classes are scheduled for Saturday, July 16 from 1 to 4 p.m. and Saturday, August 20 from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the Bear Branch Recreation Center.

Protect Yourself from Mosquito-Borne Disease

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With news of the first positive mosquito samples for West Nile Virus in Montgomery County, The Woodlands Township reminds everyone to stay alert and take steps to protect themselves and loved ones from the risks of mosquito-borne disease.

Remember to Wear Repellent

There are many products in the marketplace that claim to repel mosquitos. How do you know which one to choose? Go for one with Picaridin, DEET, IR 3535 or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus as the active ingredient – these have been shown to be the most effective at repelling the Culex and Aedes mosquito species. Whichever you choose, always follow the label to apply as directed. View the Tell Mosquitos to Bug Off article for more tips on selecting the right repellent for you and your family! 

Think WET Mosquito Blog

Remember to Drain After Rain

Residents are encouraged to check their yards for standing water and to empty containers to reduce mosquito breeding sites. Check out the Drain After Rain article for more tips on eliminating standing water. 

For more information on West Nile virus from the Centers for Disease Control, view the West Nile Virus Fact Sheet.

For more information about mosquito abatement in The Woodlands, please visit the Township’s Mosquito Control website.

To report mosquito issues, please contact Environmental Services at 281-210-2058.

Recycling Dilemma #1010 – Textiles

Landfills received 11.3 million tons of textiles in 2018 and that number is only growing. Turn your rags into resources by recycling clothing unsuited for donation to a textile recycler. 

Fashion trends come and go and when they do, your pile of last season’s cast-offs mount. Conscientious citizens donate these to their favorite charity for a shot at a new life with a new owner. But what to do if your used stuff isn’t up to snuff?

Always give pre-loved, gently worn clothing, furniture and home goods a new home before considering recycling or disposal. Check out the Township’s Donation Guide for a list of local donation centers with easy pickup and drop off options. If you frequent one of these organizations, ask them if they recycle their leftover textiles. Some locations accept scrap fabric and overly worn items separate from your good items and are able to make a profit selling their scrap to a recycler.

Bypass the landfill and turn your old rags into re-usable textile fibers that just might turn into next season’s must-haves.

It’s simple to schedule a pickup of worn textiles and home goods from the comfort of your home. Fill a kitchen bag with worn clothes, towels, and bedding – no matter the condition – and schedule pickup at your front door. Voila – instant recycling!

When you recycle textiles, you help the environment by…

…minimizing landfill footprint

Landfills serve their purpose but they’re lousy for the environment and a burden to taxpayers. Making room for our trash is expensive—never mind the loss of land set aside for this purpose.

Did you know? Every 2000 lbs. of clothing that’s kept out of the landfill has the same environmental impact as removing 2 cars from the road.

reducing greenhouse gasses

A landfill is a hotbed of carbon dioxide and methane. Decomposing textiles ramp up those methane levels —the most significant contributor to climate change.

…conserving water and reducing chemical waste

Nearly every step of textile production depends on water—water that’s loaded with dyes and chemicals. The industrial waste byproduct is a major watershed pollutant in countries that lack environmental regulation.

Did you know? It takes 2500 gallons of water to produce one pair of jeans and 600 gallons to make that t-shirt you’re wearing.

It’s easy to be green and recycle textiles at your door!

If your items aren’t in good enough condition to donate, schedule a recycling pickup with a local textile recycling company such as Green City Recycler. Just follow the steps below.