City officials fight mosquito population

City officials fight mosquito population
(Source KSWO)
(Source KSWO)

LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - With recent rains and flooding, Lawton city officials say the mosquito population has increased tremendously, so the city is going on the offensive.

They've implemented a weekly program around the city to spray for mosquitoes. Last spring, the city sprayed a few times with a machine that they had rented.  However, this year they decided to buy their own, and increase their usage to keep those bugs from getting out of control, following our unusually wet spring.

Since the heavy rain and flash flooding has left standing water in places everywhere, it's made the area a perfect environment for mosquitoes.

The city of Lawton has always taken some type of measures to help control the mosquito population, but this year their new machine should make more of a difference.

"We didn't spray before last year," Farris said. "You know, and that was just a...we contracted that for a little while, and we sprayed a few times, but now this's new for the city, it's new for me, and so we're definitely a lot better than we were previous years."

George Farris works for the city of Lawton, and when the weather permits, he goes out every Friday morning around 6 a.m. and sprays around the city. Farris says they have a schedule of which neighborhoods to target.

"We've got maps of the city you know, and different neighborhoods," Farris said. "And it's all sectioned off, mile section at a time. And we just kind of go through them, try to go through one part of the city to the next."

Farris says he can only spray city property, so he advises residents to help by dumping out any standing water on private property. Dan Brown of the Oklahoma Department of Health says the places where water is supposed to be, should still be changed out every so often.

"Just emptying those bowls and bird baths sometimes isn't enough," Brown said. "Because the eggs tend to stick to the sides of those things so you may have to scrub them out a little bit and physically remove those eggs so that they don't go ahead and produce mosquitoes."

Brown says while Zika is on everyone's mind, it's not what we should be worried about yet.

"The ones that we're most concerned with is now, basically they're the ones that carry west Nile virus," Brown said. "The Zika virus is not in the population of the mosquitoes here in Southwest Oklahoma. So that's not a concern at the moment."

Farris advises against home remedies like sprays and solutions to put on lawns, because most of them can cause harm to the environment.

Copyright 2016 KSWO. All rights reserved.