City of Amarillo is working to combat increase of mosquitoes

City of Amarillo is working to combat increase of mosquitoes (File photo)

Anyone who lives in Amarillo has probably noticed an increase in mosquitoes. Amarillo has received more rain in recent months, which explains why there are so many pests.

The problem is that when it is raining, the spray and fog will not do anything so the City of Amarillo is not able to spray then. Mosquitoes need water to breed so they pick up from the rain.

Now the City is working overtime and spraying just about everywhere as much as they can.

"They're bad right now," said Shaun May, City of Amarillo Environmental Health Director. "We fully understand. One of the things is my staff and I, we live in this community, we have children that participate in sport events. The mosquitoes right now probably are a huge challenge for us just by their numbers. It's one of the worst we've had in some time."

May says they have not stopped spraying since April, except for days when it is raining. Now crews are working extra hours to spray. They are spraying/fogging Saturday mornings and four week days in the evenings.

Right now, the main priority is parks, fields and schools. They are spraying neighborhoods with the most complaints first and working to get through the whole city.

"I'm actually paying them overtime and that's money from next year's budget that I'm having to use for this season, so we're pulling out all the stops," May said. "It's all hands on deck. We're doing the very best we can."

But he says they need help from the community too. He says anyone who is holding standing water on their property should toss it out. He also says to keep weeds and grass cut down and avoid being outside during dusk and dawn.

May says though there have not been any West Nile cases in Potter and Randall county for some time now, it is still best to be on the safe side.

"We have a lot of work to do," May said. "It's a big challenge. Mother Nature is an opponent sometimes, so she's winning right now, but we're going to work really hard to try to make it better for everybody."

Once the first freeze comes, the adult mosquitoes will die off, but the larva will live through the winter and hatch when the weather warms up. So May says they are already expecting spring to be just as bad, if not worse.

The City is spraying the neighborhoods with the most complaints first, so anyone whose neighborhood is infested can call the Environmental Health department at (806) 378-9472.

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