HOUSTON – Mosquitoes: pesky pests attached to a strong bite.
In a north-east lab of Harris County, a special brand of mosquito is strengthened to combat the problem with the Precinct Four.
"In Harris County, we now have about 58 different kinds of mosquitoes. From here, 57 eat blood to make eggs. A mosquito grouped in there who do not eat blood , it's not really a mosquito, and we use that one to help get rid of some of the others, "says Anita Schiller.
This special breed is known as a killer of mosquitoes.
"This is the butterfly of the fly world. They are perfectly decorated with blue and gold scales, in all their beautiful little bodies," Schiller said.
Schiller calls himself a "dedicated naturalist" and heads the lab at the Precinct Four's Biological Control Initiative, where scientists can drink up to 86,000 mosquito assassins a month. Once they are protected, they start their mission impossible.
"Mosquito killers will place their eggs in both containers, both containers, both habitats, such as pests, so they can not feed them," he said. Schiller. "So, a mosquito eaten is a less mosquito flying about hurting."
Mosquito assassins are also working today at the Cockrell Butterfly Center at the Houston Museum of Natural Science at the Houston Museum District to help keep the butterflies safe.
"Cockrell has some stowaway mosquitos. And of course, it's not exactly desirable but they can not do it with pesticides because if they do, they will kill all the butterflies," says Schiller .
So, Schiller decides to use mosquitoes assassins to kill stowaway mosquitoes, as well as collect data on their effects.
"Perfect marriage," said Schiller.
The work done at BCI gets full support from the Harris County Precinct Four Commissioner Jack Cagle.
He said he was excited to bring a more natural mosquito control strategy.
"By building our own, native mosquitoes that do not bite us but also pollinators, and we need more pollinators. You want your flowers, you need pollinators, so we help in our environment and protect ourselves by working in nature as opposed to trying to slam it, "says the Cagle.
But will there be one day when mosquitoes are not needed?
says Schiller no. But they say they keep going.
"I'm gonna have to burst that bubble, that's a dream, that's not what happens." By themselves, they will not be treated, however, if we use them in the concert and in a combined approach to other control strategies then maybe we can get there, one or two punches, "says Schiller.
And even if mosquito killers help suppress mosquito populations, there are still things you can do to help you, as you keep your home and the environment safe from mosquitoes.
Reduce the number of breeding places near your property
Because mosquitoes put eggs in standing water, reducing the amount of standing water minimize of the breeding sites and limit the number of mosquitoes. Check the gutters, old tires, cans and containers, as well as saucers under flower pumps for standing water that could be a breeding ground for mosquitoes ̵
Kill mosquito larvae
Mosquito eggs break up larvae about three days after being served. If you have water standing around your property, as for birdbaths, for example, be sure to change weekly to kill the larvae.
Keep your home unprotected
Mosquitoes love light, so if possible, minimize outdoor light known to attract mosquitoes. Also, examine windows and screens for areas where mosquitoes may appear.
Finding the right mosquito repellent for you
The Environmental Protection Agency has created a handy tool to find an insect repellent that is perfect for your lifestyle and needs. Click here to try it out.
West Nile virus and you
According to Centers for Disease Control, the West Nile virus is the "main cause of mosquito-borne disease in the Continental United States." People usually spread through the bite of an infected mosquitoes. "
Harris County's Mosquito and Vector Control of Public Health advises that birds can carry many diseases. Although domestic-cat kills are the most common causes of bird death in our area, if you see a dead bird around your home, you should be serious about it.
To report a dead bird, you can use this form. According to the control of HCPH Mosquito and Vector, the department will review dead birds if they meet the following criteria: no signs of trauma, dead for less than a day and no signs of ants or maggots.
To check the West Nile Virus reports in your area, click here.
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