TEXAS VIEW: Experts warn mosquito levels to be higher than normal in East Texas

THE POINT: Start now to help curtail the potential threat.

“April showers bring May flowers” is a shorter, trochaic version of “March winds and April showers bring forth May flowers,” a proverb first recorded in 1886. The phrase originally is referenced in the general prologue of Geoffrey Chaucer’s “The Canterbury Tales.”

Angelina County received 9.49 inches of rain in April. That’s the most rain we’ve received in any single month since December 2018.

While all that rain is great for Angelina’s flora and fauna, all that standing water provides mosquitoes with plenty of places to breed.

AccuWeather’s mosquito forecast for Angelina County recently showed the weather was favorable for a very high level of mosquito activity. AccuWeather advises planning “activities and insect repellents accordingly.”

The National Weather Service expects mosquito populations will be average or slightly above average for the remainder of 2021. This is due to a wetter-than-normal outlook for the summer as well as temperatures that will be average or slightly above average, according to forecasters.

There’s nothing like a swarm of pesky mosquitoes to ruin outdoor activities. Any mosquito control program you choose needs to be implemented on a long-term basis in order to provide effective, lasting protection throughout the mosquito season.

But mosquitoes are more than just a nuisance. Their need to survive includes the potential to spread diseases that can become a life-threatening issue to humans and to animals, such as Dengue Fever, chikungunya, Yellow Fever, West Nile virus, Zika and several types of encephalitis.

While many experts say it’s impossible to eliminate mosquitoes, East Texans need to start now to help curtail the potential threat.

Entomologists refer to “the four D’s” as a general means for people to help manage mosquitoes and protect against bites. These are:

  • Dusk/Dawn — Avoid being outside when mosquitoes are searching for a blood meal, which is usually in the early morning hours and just before the sun goes down. While some species are daytime biters, most prefer to feed at dusk and dawn.
  • Drain — Empty standing water from “containers” around your home and work areas, such as buckets, wheelbarrows, kiddie pools, toys, dog bowls, water troughs, tires, bottles, etc. Make improvements that allow standing water to run off following rains. Mosquitoes can lay eggs in the smallest of places, such as a bottle cap, and those eggs can live up to a year without the necessary moisture to hatch.
  • Dress — If out during mosquito feeding hours, wear long sleeves and pants in plain colors. Multiple studies have shown mosquitoes are drawn toward dark hues and floral scents. Avoid attracting them by wearing excessive amounts of perfume or aftershave.
  • Defend — Any time you go outside for an extended period of time, wear an insect repellent. Entomologists say repellents with DEET remain the gold standard for protection.

For more information about mosquitoes, visit AgriLife Extension’s Mosquito Safari website, mosquitosafari.tamu.edu.

Lufkin Daily News