Cities battling mosquito war

HARLINGEN — Neighborhood spraying is complete and pockets of rainwater are being treated for mosquitoes in Harlingen and San Benito with dispersal of larvicide by city crews, officials say.

Harlingen began spraying for mosquitoes on Friday, and San Benito crews have been out since Saturday. Officials in both cities say efforts to control mosquito numbers included using granular pellets designed to kill mosquito larvae in pooled water before they hatch.

“They did begin ‘adulticiding’ on Friday and they did that over the weekend so they’re done,” Irma Garza, Harlingen spokesperson, said yesterday. “Adulticiding is basically for all the ones that are already flying around.”

Yesterday city crews in Harlingen were attacking the mosquito larvae in areas of standing water around the city.

“What they’re doing is larviciding, they’re throwing those briquettes or pellets I guess you want to call them, into any standing water that they see around town,” Garza added. “That takes care of all the larvae, the babies that aren’t born yet.”

In San Benito, city spokesperson Marsha McClain said via email that city crews started spraying for mosquitoes on Saturday and continued Sunday and yesterday.

Now they, too, are putting larvicide in any standing water in the city to kill mosquito larvae and will continue to do so for the rest of the week, McClain added.

Garza said Harlingen’s war on mosquitoes spawned by the heavy rainfall of the last week is over — for now.

“They’ll keep their eyes on it and repeat as needed,” she said. “The community can help us by basically looking around their own yards, front and back, if they have any standing water whether it’s in a bird bath or a potted plant, just turn it over and get rid of any standing water.”

She added homeowners can buy the same mosquito larvicide the city applied, called Bti, at any local store that sells pest control items.

Bti is a naturally occurring bacterium which produces spores that specifically kill mosquito larvae and is harmless to people, pets or other animals. The mosquito-killing fog sprayed to control adult mosquitoes also is harmless to people or pets.