HARLINGEN — With thunderstorms and flooding, the aftermath is debris.
But an infestation of mosquitoes that could carry diseases is a different type of worry.
That’s why Cameron County officials are making sure neighborhoods are being taken care of after last week’s storms and flooding.
“We started larviciding — which is when we place insecticide specifically to combat larva growing in the standing water — right after the rain began,” said Veronica Ramirez, Health Educator of the Cameron County Public Health Department.
“We are constantly moving around trying to spray as much as we can. We do this year around but because of the rain and flooding we are actively doing so right now.”
According to Ramirez, spraying can only be done early in the morning or late at night. Not only that, but the spraying can only be done when the wind blows less than 10 miles per hour.
In efforts to make sure residents are safe from contracting any diseases the Cameron County Public Health Department opened two stations this week, one in Santa Rosa and another in Combes, to hand out insect repellent and insecticide dunks for standing water.
The distribution of these kits began on Tuesday and Ramirez said they will continue to provide repellent as long as supplies last.
“So far we have about 500 repellents and dunks to give away. However, if we run out people that have eligible insurance can request to get a repellent refill every month according to a standing order for the Department of State Health Services,” Ramirez said.
Ramirez stated that the best way to not get bitten is to try to stay indoors, get rid of any standing water and containers where breeding could happen and to wear clothing that covers up.
Diseases can be contracted with just one bite.
Olga Montes, of Combes, arrived at one of the stations to receive her free repellent.
‘There was a lot of water in my area; my whole street was like a lake and we have a lot of mosquitoes and they are attacking you the minute you get out the door,” Montes said.
Montes lives on Poplar Street in Combes.
“There is still some water in the front canal so I hope we don’t get more rain. But I think it’s awesome and great for Cameron County to give these services to people that don’t have money to go buy repellent.”
Tips to prevent mosquito breeding
• Remove standing water in cans, bottles, buckets, tires, wheelbarrows or any container that can hold water.
• At least weekly, empty or remove trash cans, buckets, old tires, pots, plant saucers, and other containers that hold water.
• Keep gutters clear of debris and standing water.
• Change water in pet dishes daily.
• Rinse and scrub vases and other indoor water containers weekly.
• Change water in wading pools and bird baths several times a week.
• Cover trash containers.
• Water lawns and gardens carefully so water does not stand for several days.
• Screen rain barrels and openings to water tanks or cisterns.
• Treat front and back door areas of homes with residual insecticides if mosquitoes are abundant nearby.
Prevention for mosquito bites
• Wear Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents. The repellents must contain DEET— the most common active ingredient in insect repellents. It is a yellow oil intended to be applied to the skin or to clothing and provides protection against mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, chiggers, leeches and mosquitoes.
• Cover up with long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
• Keep mosquitoes out by keeping doors and windows closed and/or installing window screens.
• Limit outdoor activities during peak mosquito times. Zika-carrying mosquitoes are most active between dawn and dusk.
Diseases carried by mosquitoes
• Zika, chikungunya disease and dengue. All of these are transmitted by aedes species of infected mosquitoes and will infect with one bite.
• Pregnant women and male and female children of child bearing age should be the most careful.
Cameron County Mosquito Spraying Operations: 956-247-3599
Home Cleanup Hotline 956-465-4124