During City Council’s May 17 work session, Richardson Health Department Director Bill Alsup said the city began testing mosquitos for West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne illnesses in April. The city has not seen any positive tests so far this year, Alsup said.
The interactive map divides the city into 12 mosquito management areas and offers weekly results for each of them.
“You can pick which of the 12 mosquito management areas you live in, and ... it'll pop up and tell you what the most recent test results were for mosquitoes in your area,” Alsup said. “And [it shows] what we have done about it—whether it's larviciding, whether it's draining a pool or conducting a spray mission.”
The city’s mosquito management program tests samples for about six months of the year, Alsup said.
Last year, Richardson collected and tested more than 5,200 mosquitos from 324 mosquito traps set in the city. Alsup said there were 13 positive tests for West Nile virus in those mosquitos, and there was one human case of the virus in 2020.
“The one thing we cannot promise is mosquito eradication,” Alsup said, explaining Richardson’s mosquito control efforts are done for public health purposes. “We do not treat mosquitoes if you're having a party in your house.”
The city’s mosquito management process includes public education, source reduction of standing water, surveillance, larviciding of mosquitos in their juvenile form and the ultra low-volume truck-mounted sprayer to kill adult mosquitoes.
When the city needs to spray for mosquitos, Alsup explained the trucks go out between 9 p.m. and 4 a.m. on back-to-back nights.
“[It] is just a light mist that kind of floats in the air,” he said. “It expands and hangs just for a short time and then dissipates quickly.”
For the 13 positive tests of mosquito pools last year, Alsup said Richardson conducted 26 spray missions.
While Alsup called West Nile virus “enemy No. 1” for the mosquito program, Richardson Mayor Paul Voelker noted it is not the only mosquito-borne illness residents should protect themselves against.
“Zika and several other diseases are common in this area,” Voelker said. “[They are] maybe not as well known as West Nile, but [they are] still important.”
Alsup also shared four tips Richardson residents can use that are effective against all mosquitos:
• Drain standing water around the home;
• Use insect repellent containing DEET;
• Avoid being outdoors at dusk and dawn; and
• Dress to protect yourself with long sleeves and pants.
Additional information about Richardson’s mosquito control program is available on the city website.