Central Texas rains give mosquitoes more breeding grounds

Pflugerville, Texas (KXAN) — With all the rain, Central Texans need to be extra alert about protecting their homes and families from mosquitoes. The insects breed in water, which can easily build up in dozens of items in your backyard.

“There’s nothing good about mosquitoes,” says Karyn Brown, owner of Mosquito Squad of North Austin. “Areas that would normally be dry are now full of water, so your yard may not normally be a problem but this year, it is a problem.”

She and her team work everyday to protect homes like yours from the relentless insects. Because everyday, mosquitoes are quietly multiplying wherever they can.

“The best thing you can do as a homeowner is just dump it out every two days, every one to two days and you’ll never have a problem in the bird bath,” Brown advises.

Even small plant saucers with water are enough for hundreds or possibly thousands of mosquitoes to hatch, says Brown. She says wet tires and children’s toys are also common items that mosquitoes can breed on.

The Mosquito Squad also recommends homeowners remove excess grass, firewood and leaves from yards.

For Brown, this work is personal.

“I bought this house in 2007, had two children at the time, and immediately realized they couldn’t go outside for more than a couple of minutes without getting mosquito bites.”

Three kids later, the family can finally enjoy their own home, now that they spray it.

“The thought that they could contract a disease from mosquitoes is just horrifying and anything I can do to protect them, I definitely will,” said Brown.

The mosquito population is most active from April through September. During this time, the Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services Department monitors the population and tests for mosquito-borne viruses.

Mosquitoes are considered one of the most dangerous creatures on the planet because of their ability to spread deadly diseases. Two of the most common diseases spread by mosquitoes are the West Nile Virus and Chikungunya.

The West Nile virus multiplies in the human blood stream and is carried to the brain, where it begins to affect the central nervous system. You develop high fever, headaches, swollen lymph nodes and a stiff neck. In the most severe cases, the infection can lead to convulsions, coma and death. People over 50 are most at risk.

With Chikungunya, fever is caused by a virus spread to people through the bite of infected mosquitoes. The incubation period is usually three to seven days and symptoms can include sudden fever, joint pain with or without swelling, chills, headache, nausea, vomiting, lower back pain and a rash. There is currently no vaccines to prevent Chikungunya. Management of the disease includes rest, fluids and medications to relieve the symptoms of fever and pain, such as ibuprofen and naproxen.

 

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