Positive West Nile Virus Samples Increasing

Data from The Woodlands Township Mosquito Surveillance Program indicates a strong start to disease activity this summer with 30% of monitored zones returning a mosquito sample positive for West Nile virus (WNV). Typically, mid-July to mid-August is the peak of WNV activity but the unusually high temperatures have contributed to an earlier start to peak season.  

The Township partners with county agencies to respond to disease activity. Access the Mosquito Treatment Activity Map for South Montgomery County here and for Harris County here to find out if and when your area has been scheduled for spraying. Montgomery County Precinct 4 conducts additional operations which includes Harper’s Landing, their map is accessed here. Residents of Alden Bridge and College Park west of I-45 can learn of additional operations in Precinct 2 by calling that office at 281-259-6492. 

Environmental Services staff search out and treat sites where mosquitoes are breeding. A major culprit – your nearby storm drain. When lawns are over-watered or sprinklers misaligned, the resulting runoff funnels into the storm drains, creating, you guessed it, a perfect mosquito breeding habitat. Irrigate correctly (no more than an inch a week for optimum turf grass health) and you can stop mosquitoes at the source. Then take just a few more steps to make life outdoors safer and lot more bearable: 

  • Tip out toys and garden equipment after rain 
  • Clean out gutters 
  • Rinse out birdbaths once a week 
  • Treat meter boxes that hold water with Bti Mosquito Dunks® 

Non-toxic Bti Mosquito Dunks® are the best way to treat areas where water stands for more than five days. Cheap, easy, and safe for pets and wildlife, you can find them at your local hardware store.  

Personal Protective Measures 

  1. Everyone is advised to wear repellent when outdoors and when West Nile virus is known to be circulating. This is especially important when someone: 
  • Is over age 50 
  • Is outside in the early morning or evening hours when mosquitoes are most active 
  • Has underlying health conditions 

There are special considerations for children – see this Parents Guide to Repellent.  

  1. The mosquitoes that carry WNV are more active during early dawn and dusk hours. Consider changing your routine if you’re normally outdoors during these times or create a barrier with long, loose sleeves and pants. 

More Tools to Mosquito-Proof Your Patio 

Check out 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 enviro@thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov or call 281-210-2058.  

Monitoring Mosquito-Borne Disease in The Woodlands

The buzzing has begun! As summer approaches, the Environmental Services department would like to remind you that “mosquito season” is here. May is when the Texas Department of State Health Services begins testing mosquito samples for disease.

The Environmental Services (ES) Mosquito Team is out setting traps that target the vectors for West Nile virus (WNv).  The last two years, we’ve experienced high WNv disease activity in The Woodlands. In 2020, 12% of mosquito samples tested positive for the disease and 8% in 2021.

To prevent the spread of mosquitos (and mosquito-borne illnesses) – the ES Mosquito Team reminds residents to take a moment every week to empty containers holding water and scrub out birdbaths. Some of the most common mosquito breeding sites found around the yard are – plant saucers, toys, wheelbarrows, buckets, and birdbaths. Follow these simple guidelines and reduce the buzzing in your backyard!

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If you are having a problem with mosquitos and cannot locate the source, please call Environmental Services at 281-210-2058. For more information on mosquito-proofing your yard check out this two-part series.

Hiring! Seasonal Mosquito Technicians 2021

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).

Apply today!

Applications will be accepted until April 16, 2021, or until position is filled. Interested candidates are encouraged to submit applications early. View the full job description here.

Questions? Email enviro@thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov 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.

Mosquito Surveillance Summary

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

Personal Protective Measures 

  1. Everyone is advised to wear repellent when outdoors when West Nile virus is known to be circulating. This is especially true if someone: 
  • Is outside in the early morning or evening hours when mosquitoes are most active 
  • Is over age 50 
  • Has underlying health conditions 

There are special considerations for children – see this Parents Guide to Repellent.  

  1. 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. 
  1. 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.  
  1. 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 enviro@thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov or call 281-210-3800.  

Apply today!

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.