The Woodlands Township Mosquito Surveillance Program indicates disease activity is widespread with over half (56%) of zones and 9 of 10 Villages returning a mosquito sample positive for West Nile virus (WNV). The next two weeks continue the typical peak of WNV activity in the mosquito population – please be vigilant in taking personal protective measures. There has been one reported human case of WNV in north Texas, according to the state press release.
Access the treatment map and schedule for South Montgomery County here and for Harris County here.
The mosquitoes that carry WNV are more active at dusk, dark, and the early dawn hours. Consider changing your routine if you are normally outdoors during these times, or create a barrier by covering up skin with long sleeves and pants.
Drain after rain to deny mosquitoes a place to lay their eggs and reproduce. Empty out water that accumulates in toys, tires, trash cans, buckets, clogged rain gutters and plant pots.
Treat water you do keep – in bird baths, rain barrels, and ponds – with non-toxic Mosquito Dunks®. Cheap, easy, and safe for pets and wildlife, you can find them at your local hardware store.
More Tools to Mosquito-Proof Your Patio
Here is information about why an oscillating fan works well and why we recommend garlic barrier, just two of the suggestions in the Mosquito-Proof Your Patio series. Use this handy guide to check your yard for other places mosquitoes might be lurking.
To report a problem area or to request more information, contact the Environmental Services Department at email@example.com or call 281-210-3800.
Applications will be accepted through April 17, 2020, or until position is filled. Interested candidates are encouraged to submit applications early for a seasonal, part-time position with the Mosquito Surveillance Team.
Conduct mosquito surveillance operations for disease carrying and nuisance mosquitoes in both the field and laboratory. $11-$12/hour, Monday through Friday with occasional Saturdays; 25 hrs/week, May through August or November. View the full job description here and apply here.
If you have been following the Eastern equine encephalitis outbreak
in the Northeast US, most of the news stories end with a statement such as “the
first killing frost ends the adult mosquito season in any given area.” This is
a completely valid assumption when you live in an area where temperatures drop
below freezing and stay there for weeks at a time.
However, to say that winter weather in our region can be variable is an understatement. While our recent cold front may have frozen some tender plants, it wasn’t enough to do much damage to our resident population of southern house mosquitoes, Culex quinquefasciatus.
That’s because, as the days get shorter and temperatures and humidity drop, this last generation of female mosquitoes plump up internal fat reserves and find a nice sheltered spot to wait out the winter. Storm drains are a favorite haunt, along with garden sheds and rodent burrows.
Along with a thicker outer skeleton that resists drying and a metabolism slowed down like cold molasses, these mosquitoes enter a form of dormancy called diapause. This state of suspended development will last until the days lengthen and temperatures rise again – a relatively short window in SE Texas.
And that sheltered spot? When it warms up, storm drains do double duty as a breeding place for those overwintering mosquitoes. Excess irrigation and grass clippings keep drains perpetually moist and full of organic material. This creates the perfect breeding ground– read more about it here. Consider turning off your automatic sprinkler for the winter to avoid runoff (it’s also healthier for your lawn).
So how do mosquitoes survive where it is cold and below freezing? They do so as eggs, just like the invasive Asian tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus, that we have here. Based on seasonal cues, females will lay eggs with more fat to sustain the embryo, along with a thicker “coat” to keep eggs from drying out so they can survive the colder temperatures. These eggs are as big as a speck of dirt and almost impossible to differentiate with the naked eye. So, do yourself a favor and give those plant pots and other outdoor items a good scrub before storing them away for the winter. You’ll be rewarded with fewer mosquitoes when the weather warms.
The Environmental Services Department is looking for enthusiastic, dedicated, independent individuals to join the Mosquito Team. Increase your field and laboratory experience while being an important part of this public health and outreach program.
Work as part of a team to monitor for mosquito-borne diseases
Deploy traps throughout The Woodlands that target different species
Use your interpersonal skills while sharing information with the public
Delve into the world of mosquito anatomy and identification in the lab
Expand your knowledge of water conservation, recycling right, sustainable landscapes and more supporting Environmental Services programs and events
Positions are from mid-May through end of November with an opportunity to extend the term of employment (can also accommodate students returning to college in August).
Applications will be accepted until April 19, 2019, or until position is filled. Interested candidates are encouraged to submit applications early. View the full job description here.
Questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Environmental Services 281-210-3800.
Established in 2005, the mission of the Mosquito Surveillance & Education Program is to reduce the risk of mosquito-borne disease transmission for the protection and wellbeing of The Woodlands residents through the application of Integrated Mosquito Management. Learn what you can do to target mosquitoes.
[Guest blog post & original art by Melissa Birdwell, EfTA Intern]
Protect yourself from mosquitoes by regularly dumping out containers holding standing water and wearing CDC-approved mosquito repellent. This is especially important considering that West Nile continues to surface in our local mosquito population this season.
The mosquito mentioned in the image above, the Asian Tiger, is the vector for Dengue and Zika viruses. These mosquitoes are active during the daytime and readily bite humans. Emptying containers of standing water could protect you from diseases carried by the Asian Tiger Mosquito, as that will prevent them from breeding near your home.
The objects shown in the image above are only some of the possible containers that could house mosquito eggs and larvae. Something as small as a bottle cap could be enough to produce a new generation of mosquitoes in only seven days.
Melissa Birdwell completed an 80-hour internship with Environmental Services as part of the Education for Tomorrow Alliance Student Internship Program. She is a rising senior at The Woodlands Christian Academy and has an interest in biological research.
Education for Tomorrow Alliance is a nonprofit organization dedicated to connecting the business and education communities in Montgomery County, Texas. With innovative programs focused on career, leadership and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) preparation, EfTA has become the portal through which business leaders can access and strengthen local education.
The Woodlands Township a proud partner of EfTA, providing four or more Interns each summer with valuable field and laboratory experience as part of the Mosquito Surveillance & Education Program.