ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – The City of Abilene hasn’t sprayed for mosquitoes in the past 4 years and says they won’t unless one tests positive for an infectious disease.
Environmental Health Manager Terri Auger says each week, a team from her department traps mosquitoes from around the City then sends them to Austin for testing.
Once at the lab, the State tests the samplings for certain mosquito-borne diseases, known as vectors, such as West Nile Virus, Encephalitis, St. Louis Encephalitis, and Equine Encephalitis.
The lab then tells the City what kind of mosquitoes they have and lets them know if the testing was positive or negative.
Auger says the City of Abilene hasn’t received a positive test result in 4 years and counting.
Abilene follows Tarrant County’s Vector Control Policy, meaning they will not spray unless there are positive test results, and if there are positive results, they will only spray within a one-mile radius of where the compromised specimen was found.
The City believes this is the best practice toward dealing with mosquitoes because the spray is a toxic chemical, meaning it could have a negative impact on the environment, such as killing off beneficial insect populations and creating mosquitoes that are resistant to the pesticide.
Instead of spraying, the City offers citizens who call to complain about the mosquitoes larvicide tablets, which dissolve in standing water and kill young larvae. They’re effective for 60 days.
Auger says her office has seen an increase in the mosquito population due to all the rain this year and advises citizens to follow the 4 D’s when spending time outside: dress in protective clothing, avoid activities during dusk and dawn, drain stagnant water and defend with products containing DEET.
The following document outlines the City of Abilene’s mosquito protocol: