The Vector Control Department is the group charged with providing mosquito and general vector control and funding is through a special assessment on the utility bill sent to City consumers. Vector control is the methods used to limit or eradicate mosquitoes and other “vectors” which can transmit disease pathogens.
Most persons consider mosquitoes to be a pest, simply an aggravation and nuisance. However, mosquitoes can harbor diseases such as:
- Dengue Fever
- Eastern Equine Encephalomyelitis Virus
- Everglades Virus
- Highlands J Virus
- Ilheus Virus
- La Crosse Encephalitis Virus
- Saint Louis Encephalitis Virus
- West Nile Virus
- Yellow Fever
Very few of these occur locally, but there have been cases of West Nile Virus reported in the panhandle.
The most effective way to control mosquitoes is to remove the habitat that allows for their existence. Since many mosquitoes breed in standing water, source reduction can be as simple as emptying water from containers around the home. This is something that homeowners can accomplish. For example, homeowners can eliminate mosquito breeding grounds by removing unused plastic pools, old tires, or buckets; by clearing clogged gutters and repairing leaks around faucets; by regularly changing water in bird baths; and by filling or draining puddles. Eliminating such mosquito breeding areas can be an extremely effective and permanent way to reduce mosquito populations without resorting to insecticides.
Mosquitoes also tend to reside in grassy and weedy areas during the day. This is why they may swarm when someone mows high standing grass. It is very important that home residents keep their yards and alleys mowed and well kept in order to reduce the mosquito population.
The next best method of mosquito control is Larvicide. This is where chemicals, natural or synthetic, that are detrimental to the survival of the larvae, are introduced in the Mosquito Larvae habitat. In the larval stage, mosquitoes are very vulnerable. One of the easiest ways to do this is to break the surface tension of the water where they live with some sort of detergent or surfactant. This makes the larvae drown, thus preventing the mosquito from developing.
Other chemicals attack during the development stages. Others are simple contact poisons. These must be carefully applied as other aquatic creatures may be impacted by their presence in the ecosystem.
Once the mosquitoes are adults, the females become needy for blood in order to produce more offspring. This is when adulticide is used. This is the most familiar treatment for most people. It is also the least effective means of mosquito control, but where the most effort is placed.
Fogging / Spraying
The City of Borger utilizes two fogging pickups which are used in the mornings and evenings to control mosquitoes. These pickups operate at about 10 to 15 miles per hour and spray or fog the adulticide chemical. This chemical must come in contact with the mosquito in order to kill it. This requires that the mosquitoes must be active and flying when fogged which is at dusk and at dawn. This is when the fogging trucks are active.
Fogging or area spraying is used to rapidly reducing adult mosquito populations when they have become severe pests. Fogging and area sprays must be properly timed to coincide with the time of peak adult activity, because resting mosquitoes are often found in areas that are difficult for the insecticide to reach (e.g., under leaves, in small crevices).