This summer, dozens of mosquitos in testing sites across North Texas have turned up positive for West Nile virus. It’s nothing like the record year of 2012 when 89 people died across Texas. So far this year, only two human cases of the virus have been reported in North Texas. But the dry weather that's come after big rains could mean we're in for a long skeeter season.
Mosquitoes with West Nile Virus have arrived earlier than ever before in North Texas. Last week, several traps in Richardson had mosquitoes that tested positive for the virus – last year West Nile didn’t appear until May.
Dallas County is tripling the number of mosquito-spraying trucks available for this West Nile Virus season. And, the County Judge is backing a new state law that attacks abandoned swimming pools – fertile mosquito breeding grounds.
The mosquito population in parts of Dallas and Denton counties actually increased after last summer’s aerial pesticide spraying. But, the Centers for Disease Control found the number of human cases of the mosquito-borne illness went down.
Dallas County plans a new, more aggressive way to control mosquitoes and West Nile virus next year. 2012 was the worst year ever in North Texas: 18 deaths in Dallas County alone. But, beekeepers and organic farmers do not want aerial pesticide spraying as part of the 2013 plan.
Aerial mosquito spraying is scheduled again tonight for half a dozen cities primarily in southern Dallas County: Duncanville, Ferris, Wilmer, Seagoville, Sunnyvale; plus Rowlett and Mesquite – south of I-30.
Dallas officials say 20 new West Nile virus cases have raised the County total to 262. KERA’s Bill Zeeble reports the second round of the air assault on mosquitoes launched last night at 9 even though leaders initially said that may not be effective.
Aerial spraying for mosquitoes over Dallas County cities is cancelled for tonight.
At a Saturday afternoon update, County Judge Clay Jenkins said the chance of rain and windy conditions are keeping the planes on the ground until Sunday, Monday and Tuesday nights.
Friday night, storms cut short the spraying effort. Only about 30% of the intended area was sprayed. Planes will hit the remaining 70% Sunday night. Monday and Tuesday spraying will be a second application over the entire targeted area.
Wednesday evening the first of five twin-engine Beechcraft planes arrived at Dallas’ Executive airport. From there they’ll fly 200 to 400 feet above the rooftops of 11 North Texas cities, spraying a fine mist of the insecticide Duet.