One of the most environmentally-friendly and effective ways to protect yourself and loved ones from mosquito-borne diseases is by utilizing mosquito dunks.
Mosquito dunks are small, donut-shaped objects that slowly release a biological mosquito larvicide at the water’s surface for30 days or more under normal conditions. This larvicide gradually settles in the water where it is eaten by mosquito larvae and kills them. The bacteria in the dunks will not hurt pets, birds, children or wildlife.
Dunks should be placed where mosquitoes breed, such as birdbaths, rain barrels, ponds, sewers, gutters, creeks, streams, drainage channels or any other area withstanding or slow-moving water. Each dunk covers about 100 square feet and can be broken up if treating smaller areas. For areas with moving water or where the dunk might wash away, you can tie the dunk to a weight or stake it in the ground.
The City of College Station is providing free dunks while supplies last. Homeowner and neighborhood associations should contact Barbara Moore at 979.764.6262 or firstname.lastname@example.org
to schedule pick up. Residents not in an association can stop by the City Secretary’s Office from 9 a.m.-noon and 1-4 p.m. on weekdays. Call 979.764.3500 to check availability before arrival.
West Nile Virus
In recent years, the infamous West Nile Virus has frequently emerged from the annual mosquito invasion. In the past cities relied on fogging or spray trucks in mostly vain attempts to control mosquitoes, but most now distribute mosquito dunks as a more environmentally-friendly and effective solution. The Brazos County Health Department sets mosquito traps throughout the county. If a trapped mosquito tests positive for the West Nile Virus in the City of College Station, the city’s Public Works Department will spray that area. The department does not, however, take on mosquito spraying by requests.
Zika virus is making international headlines for its recent outbreak in South America and Central America, prompting the World Health Organization to declare the mosquito-borne virus an international emergency. Several cases have also been reported in Texas, but as of June 10, 2016, none have been reported in Brazos County.
Click here for the latest case count.
Abut 80 percent of people infected with the virus do not become ill. For those who develop symptoms, illness is generally mild and typically lasts a few days to a week. The most common symptoms of Zika virus disease are fever, rash, joint pain, and red eyes.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises pregnant women to delay travel to foreign countries where Zika is being transmitted. To prevent the spread of the disease, people traveling to those areas should carefully follow steps to avoid mosquito bites while there and for seven days after returning home.
Prevention measures are the same as any other virus carried by mosquitos:
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
- Use EPA-registered insect repellents.
- Drain standing water.
- Use Mosquito dunks in water that is unable to be drained, and retreat every 30 days. Running water in streams and drainage ways is usually not considered a problem in terms of mosquito breeding.
- Use permethrin-treated clothing and gear when traveling to areas with active Zika virus transmission.
- Stay and sleep in screened-in or air-conditioned rooms.
What else can you do?
In addition to using dunks, you can defend yourself against mosquitoes by using the Four D’s:
- DRAIN: Drain standing water from gutters, flowerpots, buckets, wading pools, puddles, etc. Change the water in bird baths often. Trim your grass and shrubs, also do not overwater the lawn.
- DEET: Use insect repellant with DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon-eucalyptus or IR3535.
- DUSK/DAWN: Stay indoors at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
- DRESS: Dress in long-sleeves and pants when possible.
Call 979-764-6262 or e-mail email@example.com for more information on the Mosquito Abatement Program.