Hometown News For Orange County, Texas

Commissioners endorse buying more mosquito spray

Commissioners Court Tuesday didn't hesitate to spend $101,000 on an item that has gone over budget for the year. Orange County Mosquito Control will be getting more pesticide to spray from the special plane.

"We've had a very active first eight months of this fiscal year" and the supplies are "critically low," said Mosquito Control Director Patrick Beebe told commissioners.

The county's fiscal, or budget year, goes from October 1 through September 30. Usually, the mosquito population slows down in January through March. This year has been different with the insects proliferating in those months, leaving no break for the need of spraying.

Beebe said mosquito activity has increased during the past eight months because of a mild winter, lots of rainfall, high tides coming in, plus water flowing downstream from areas north of Orange County. Water that is left standing becomes a breeding and hatching ground for the pesky flying blood suckers.

The county sprays Fyfanon, or Malathion) as the insecticide for the aerial treatments. According to Beebe's report to commissioners, the three year average for use of the chemical is 3,103 gallons a year. As of May 23, a week ago, the county had used 4,425 gallons and summer, the most active time for mosquitoes, hasn't started.

At one point, the mosquito control department had $9.20 left in its spray budget and had run out of spray for the plane. Then commissioners agreed to have Beebe move some money around from another fund in the department.

In the past days, the plane has been regularly spraying routes through the county. County spray trucks also travel roads with insecticides for ground treatments, usually at night or times when mosquitoes are most active.

Commissioners quickly approved giving Beebe his requested $101,000 from the contingency fund used for emergencies or unexpected expenses. The money should cover the spray expenses through the end of the current fiscal year on September 30.

Commissioners earlier in the meeting had complimented the mosquito control department for working to cut down on the number of the insects.

Mosquitoes are not simply pests. They can spread a number of diseases. The Texas Department of Health and Human Services reports those diseases include West Nile Fever, Zika, Dengue, malaria, and St. Louis Encephalitis. In the past 20 years, Orange County has confirmed West Nile and Zika cases in humans.


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