Tag Archives: mosquitoes

And now it’s mosquitoes

Hurricane Harvey continues to leave its mark on Texas. Besides the giant cleanup, hoards of mosquitoes are now descending in many areas. The pictures are impressive. Just a couple of examples are enough to make the point. The young man in the picture here was fortunate to have chosen a sturdy shirt before venturing out last weekend. The mosquitoes in this picture are probably in the genus Psorophora, (sore ROFF oh ruh) one of our largest, most painful and aggressive biters.  Psorophora mosquitoes have some impressive chops when it comes… Read More →

A chance to fight malaria

How would you like to save a life today? It’s not as hard as you might think. In the years since Bill Gates retired his position as CEO of MicroSoft Corporation, he and his wife Melinda have devoted tremendous effort to battling malaria.  Malaria and the mosquitoes that transmit it is the single greatest killer of humans in the world, accounting for most of the 700,000+ mosquito-caused deaths annually.  But unlike many of the other major problems in the world, solutions to the malaria epidemic are available now…. Read More →

New infographic on biting and stinging pests

Every now and then we get the opportunity to get a little creative with a partner who shares some of our mission. This month our partner is the Methodist Health System, and MHS Publication Specialist, Sarah Cohen.  Sarah posed a challenge to a few of us subject matter experts, and her creative team, to come up with an infographic that would help inform you about the different kinds of pests in Texas that bite, sting and sometimes infect us. Here’s the final product and a link to the… Read More →

Quick fix for mosquitoes

This year my wife and I worked all spring to turn our backyard into a flowery paradise.  We installed drip irrigation, planted new plants (including a bunch of perennials for attracting bees and butterflies) and mulched everything against the coming drought of summer. Now that summer’s here, however, the mosquitoes have decided that since everything’s so nice, they want to be in charge.  In fact I believe every mosquito on the block knows about our backyard, making it difficult to go outside for even a few minutes without repellent. You… Read More →

First mosquito of the season

Before it’s old news, I wanted to make it official.  It’s Aedes (AID ees) season again in north Texas.  Last weekend I spotted my first Aedes albopictus (Asian tiger mosquitoes) of the season.  So from now until November, get used to having these pesky mosquitoes around. Alex Wild, curator of the insect museum at the University of Texas in Austin (the OTHER Texas University) tweeted his first Aedes aegypti (yellow fever mosquito) of the season a month ago.  Since then I’ve been tempting my local backyard mosquito population with my succulent, winter-white legs… Read More →

Zika Virus: What you need to know

Last December I wrote about bracing for a new mosquito-borne disease called Zika.  Since then, evidence of a connection between Zika virus and two scary health conditions called Guillian-Barré syndrome and microcephaly has grown. Although there are still no known cases of Zika being acquired from mosquitoes locally, from within the U.S., there is a real possibility that Zika virus could reach Texas this summer.  If so, these issues will become as important to the average stay-at-home Texan, as it is to those folks who are willing to… Read More →

Bracing for ZIKA

Will Zika be the next mosquito-borne disease to capture headlines in 2016?  Or will it be the little disease that few (at least in the U.S.) have heard of?  That’s the question being debated by public health officials this year. For many years it seemed like new things happened relatively slowly in public health in Texas. In the mid 1980s entomologists reported the Asian tiger mosquito in Texas for the first time–a daytime-flying mosquito from Japan that is not shy about biting humans. Then in 2002 the first cases of west Nile virus… Read More →

Mosquito threat highest Now

In 2012 Dallas was the national epicenter of a West Nile epidemic.  A mild winter and very hot summer combined to make conditions that resulted in approximately 400 reported cases and 19 deaths in Dallas county alone.  While 2015 has not approached the mosquito numbers or disease transmission potential of 2012, this year’s data suggests that risk for getting a WNV infection from a mosquito is peaking higher than any time since then. Traditionally the potential for WNV transmission peaks in August and this year looks like no… Read More →

Most attractive contest

Where are you on the mosquito attractiveness scale?  Are you a “1” or a “10”?  Me?  I know that I’m more attractive to mosquitoes than my wife (she is much more susceptible to poison ivy… I think I’ll be content).  I suspect that I’m not a ten, though.  Several years ago I was asked to visit a Plano resident who was very upset about the mosquito problem around her home.  After searching her yard and poking about the surrounding neighborhood, the city health official and I had not… Read More →

September no time to forget West Nile virus

If you live in north Texas, chances are that you’ve been following reports of mosquito spraying efforts.  You may have heard that in September the risk from West Nile virus usually goes down.  However, the latest data shows that WNV risk may a actually be higher now than any time during 2013. Last summer’s record outbreak of WNV is, and we hope will remain, the benchmark for a dreadful year of mosquito-borne illness here in north Texas.  This summer has been much different, with only five human cases in Dallas… Read More →