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Posted on: May 7, 2020

Frequently Asked Questions about Mosquitoes

Mosquito Image

When does the City begin spraying for mosquitoes?                                                                    

Spraying typically begins in the first week of May depending on trap population. The City of Plainview’s Vector Control staff track seven mosquito traps throughout the city, observing the adult female population and once the trap counts hit a certain number, ground spraying begins.

What are mosquito traps?                                                                                         

The City of Plainview’s Vector Control staff use seven New Jersey Mosquito Light Traps throughout the City. The trap is a metal cylinder with a rain shroud which prevents water from entering the collection jar. Under the shroud, a light bulb attracts mosquitoes and the small fan pulls them into the collection jar. Vector Control staff will begin spraying mosquitoes once the collection counts for adult female mosquitoes are between 15 - 25 each day.

 Why wait until May?                                                                                   

Wind speeds and temperature are more predictable in May. For the biggest spraying impact, wind speeds must be below 15 mph and the temperature must be above 60 degrees. Humidity also plays a part in the effectiveness of spraying – the spray doesn’t travel as far when humidity is too high.

 Does the City spray for mosquitoes every night? Where do they spray?            

The City sprays for mosquitoes when the trap counts hit a certain number. During peak times, it can be daily or twice a day. Vector Control staff use two trucks to spray and start in different locations to cover the entire city each time. Mosquitoes are most active at dawn and dusk – the City spray trucks will spray during those times for the biggest impact.

 It looks like the spray truck is driving too fast. Can they slow down?                                                    

The smart flow setting will only activate when the driver’s speed is between 5 – 21 mph. If the driver’s speed is not within those limits, the spray will automatically shut off. Driving slower will not increase the amount of mosquito spray released into the air.

 Why do you only track the female population?                                                                        

 The male mosquito only feeds on flower nectar and is not a danger to humans. Female mosquitoes are tracked because they bite in order to produce eggs. 

 Is the spray harmful to me and my family?                                                                  

No, but if you have asthma or allergies, consider taking these basic precautions:

  • Remain indoors for at least an hour after spraying has concluded in your area.
  • Close all windows, turn off window unit air conditioners or turn the setting to recirculate indoor air only.
  • Avoid eye or skin contact with the spray if you are outside and wash any exposed skin with soap and water.
  • Do not let children play near or behind the spray truck.

 

Where do mosquitoes like to hang out?                                                                       

Mosquitoes love water. Adult mosquitoes lay eggs in stagnant or slow-moving water, on moist soil or in areas likely to collect water. Mosquitoes can lay their eggs in standing water or where they hatch in just a few days. Some eggs may remain unhatched for weeks or even months until they are covered with water. Adult flying mosquitoes often rest in tall grass and shrubbery.

 

How can I keep mosquitoes away from my house? 

  • Keep your grass, weeds and bushes trimmed.
  • Clear your property of items that can hold water - twice a week dump anything that holds water.
  • Keep ornamental ponds and pools well maintained and aerated to keep water moving - even if it is not in use.

 

What are mosquito-borne illnesses?                                                            

Mosquito- borne illnesses are spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. West Nile Virus is the most common virus spread by mosquitoes in the United States. Symptoms include, headache, body aches joint pain, vomiting or diarrhea and skin rash. Contact your local health provider if you experience any of these symptoms. Other, less common mosquito-borne illnesses in the United States include La Crosse Encephalitis or St. Louis Encephalitis. Malaria is rare in the United States and most of these cases are found in travelers who have visited tropical climates.

 For more information, visit www.plainviewtx.org or call 296.1100.

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