Mosquitoes making you itch? Here’s how to protect yourself

HOUSTON – It wouldn’t be Houston without a little sting flying around. I’m talking about the blood-sucking bugs, mosquitoes. These pesky bugs are making a comeback as temperatures rise and shower chances increase.

April 25 marks World Malaria Day—Texas Department of State Health reports that so far in 2024, there has been 1 mosquito-borne death from a Texas resident due to Malaria. However, the Malaria was acquired while travelling outside of the United States. Harris County’s Mosquito and Vector Control is constantly monitoring the mosquito population for Malaria, West Nile, and other diseases that could mean illness and even death for people and pets.

The process starts outside, with technicians picking up mosquito traps strategically placed across Houston, some in Houstonians’ backyards. Once the traps are picked up, the mosquitoes that are alive are taken to the lab and tested. The technology has come a long way—instead of waiting two or three days for results, they are now finalized in 6 to 8 hours.

Dr. Maximea Vigilant, the director at Mosquito and Vector Controls says this helps the Health Department notify the public of any active risks faster.

The Mosquito and Vector Control also monitors bird populations; if birds test positive for diseases related to mosquitoes at high rates, it is a good indication that we could see the same trend in the human population.

While scientists are hard at work, you can help prevent mosquitoes from breeding by remembering the Three Ts:

  • Tip over empty containers like flowerpots and buckets. Leaving them accessible for filling up with water creates the perfect environment for mosquitoes to breed.
  • Toss out debris and unwanted items like tires that can keep moisture. Dr. Vigilant says one mosquito can lay up to 150 eggs in one batch. That’s enough to drive anybody crazy.
  • Take Action by using EPA-certified repellent before you head outside, wearing bright colors so you can spot mosquitoes if they land on you, and making sure your screen windows and doors have no holes or gaps.

About the Author

I am grateful for the opportunity to share the captivating tales of weather, climate, and science within a community that has undergone the same transformative moments that have shaped my own life.

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