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Dallas County Escalates The 2013 War On Mosquitoes


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.

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins says we’re already swatting mosquitoes thanks, in part, to a mild winter in North Texas.

“You do see mosquitoes now," Jenkins said. "You’re not seeing right now the Culex that carries West Nile, but because of our temperate weather here in North Texas we generally have year-round mosquitoes.”

Jenkins says when the first West Nile infected mosquitoes show up this year, the county will be ready.

“We hired a contractor so that, when needed, we can immediately ramp up our spray of insecticide in the areas where we have positive mosquitoes," Jenkins explained. "So, the contractor will be able to come in and triple our truck-based presence if necessary.”

That comes at a cost of $350,000.  Commissioner John Wiley Price is encouraging cities throughout the county to step up their mosquito-control game as well.

“If in fact, we’re going to have all out nuclear war with regards to the mosquito population, I need them to buy in,”  Price said.

Price says we need more “boots on the ground” this year.  Last year, Dallas County led the nation in the number of human West Nile cases; more than 400, with 19 deaths.   

Judge Jenkins says it’s not all about spraying. He supports a bill in the legislature that would eliminate a prior notice requirement for entering a property. That would allow mosquito control officials immediate access to abandoned swimming pools or other standing water breeding grounds – kill the mosquitoes before they hatch. West Nile season begins May first. 

Former KERA reporter BJ Austin spent more than 25 years in broadcast journalism, anchoring and reporting in Atlanta, New York, New Orleans and Dallas. Along the way, she covered Atlanta City Hall, the Georgia Legislature and the corruption trials of Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards.