Recent rain has created puddles of standing water and has Lubbock residents on the lookout for mosquitoes. But there is some good news. Local experts say the mosquito population is "below average" so far this year.
Vector Control patrols Lubbock County looking for mosquitoes 9 hours a day.
"We've got 26 traps that we strategically locate around the county. We monitor these traps on a weekly basis and that gives us an idea of what our mosquito population is," said City of Lubbock Vector Control Coordinator Glenn Heinrich.
Every Monday his team collects the traps and brings the contents back to Vector Control so the mosquitoes can be categorized. It's all part of Vector Control's collection and prevention process.
"We will go out and survey all of the lake areas and standing water and we treat for larvae," Glenn said. "If we can kill those mosquitoes in those immature stages before they become adults and become nuisance biters and disease-transmitters then we can control them a lot easier."
They check each water source one by one before deciding to spray.
"We actually take a ladle and this will dip into the water and will pull out a sample of about 8 or 10 ounces and we'll just physically count any larvae or pupa that are in the water."
The Vector Control trucks drive along the edge of the lakes spraying chemicals into the water that have a deadly effect for larvae.
"The larvicide is actually naturally-occurring products in nature that actually attacks the mid-gut of the immature insect and it ruptures the intestines so that it doesn't evolve and breed into an adult," Glenn said. "We still have a major problem here and it can escalate at times and with the introduction of all these West Nile viruses and encephalitis it becomes a major problem."
Glenn says the mosquito population in West Texas is like the stock market. When it rains, the mosquito population spikes and when it dries out the population dwindles. In an average year, Vector Control collects between 700 and 1,000 mosquitoes a week. This year has been slightly below that so far, but even with populations down you still need to stay protected.
"Stay indoors between dusk and dawn. Dress appropriately. Use a product called Deet and drain any standing water that you have around your property."