PUBLIC HEALTH DISTRICT

Mosquito Control

Mosquito-borne Virus Update                                                                                                                                  

The Health District urges residents to protect themselves from mosquitoes and the serious diseases they can carry. Mosquito season will continue through the summer months. It is important to use insect repellant during outdoor activities, especially in the morning and evening.

The Texas Department of State Health Services provides a daily count update for the number of Zika cases in Texas. At this time, there are no human cases of Zika in McLennan County. The Waco-McLennan County Health District will continue to update the community on any human cases of mosquito-borne diseases in McLennan County.

For recent lists of mosquito-borne disease case counts in McLennan County, visit the Epidemiology Page under the Reports tab.

The Center for Disease Control has issued a travel warning for regions and countries where Zika transmission is ongoing. 

Mosquito Control Planning

The Health District is working with McLennan County and the cities within the County to eliminate mosquito breeding sites by monitoring municipal properties for stagnant water and other potential mosquito habitats.  Larvicide, debris removal and landscaping are all methods that can be used by cities to eliminate breeding sites.

City of Waco Mosquito Control Plan

Personal Protection

The best way to protect you and yourself from mosquitoes is to follow the 4 Ds of protection.

  • Defend  Use mosquito repellent. 
  • Drain  Drain any standing or stagnant water.
  • Day and Night Different Mosquito breeds bite at different times of the day. Always have insect repellent available.
  • Dress Wear long sleeves/pants, loose and light-colored clothing when outdoors.

Always use mosquito repellant when you are outside.

Other steps include

  • Check for clogged rain gutters and clean them out.
  • Remove discarded tires, and other items that could collect water.
  • Be sure to check for containers or trash in places that may be hard to see, such as under bushes or under your home.
  • At least once or twice a week, empty water from flower pots, pet food and water dishes, birdbaths, swimming pool covers, buckets, barrels, and cans.
  • The mosquito travels about 150 feet from where it emerges.  Talk with your neighbors about removing breeding sites on their property too.

The Health District urges people to monitor their property for any standing water because mosquitoes need only a small amount of water to develop their eggs into adult mosquitoes.

A female mosquito lays up to 200 eggs at one time. It only takes 7 -14 days for an egg to hatch and become another flying mosquito. Elimination of potential mosquito breeding habitats is a critical key for mosquitos in McLennan County.

If you notice stagnant water in your area for a week or longer, report this problem to the Waco-McLennan County Public Health District at (254) 750-5464 for assistance.

How to choose a mosquito repellent

Choose a mosquito repellent that has been registered by the Environmental Protection Agency. Registered products have been reviewed, approved, and pose minimal risk for human safety when used according to label directions.

Three repellents that are approved and recommended are:

  • DEET
  • Picaridin
  • Oil of lemon eucalyptus

Here are some rules to follow when using repellents:

  • Read the directions on the label carefully before applying.
  • Apply repellent sparingly, only to exposed skin (not on clothing).
  • Keep repellents away from eyes, nostrils and lips: do not inhale or ingest repellents or get them into the eyes. 
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that DEET-based repellents can be used on children as young as two months of age. Generally, the AAP recommends concentrations of 30% or less.
  • Avoid applying repellents to portions of children's hands that are likely to have contact with eyes or mouth.
  • Pregnant and nursing women should minimize use of repellents. 
  • Never use repellents on wounds or irritated skin. 
  • Use repellent sparingly and reapply as needed. Saturation does not increase efficacy. 
  • Wash repellent-treated skin after coming indoors.
  • If a suspected reaction to insect repellents occurs, wash treated skin, and call a physician. Take the repellent container to the physician.

The number of mosquito-borne diseases  2011-2016:

2011: 0 cases
2012: 43 cases (West Nile Virus)
2013: 0 cases
2014: 1 case (West Nile Virus)
2015: 0 cases                                                                                                                                                                           2016: 8 (5 West Nile, travel related - Chikungunya, Malaria, Dengue)

Useful links

How to prevent mosquito bites

Information on West Nile Virus

Information about Chikungunya Virus

Mosquito Species and Diseases