By MARTHA McCLAIN
Special to the PRESS
March 2015 exceeded expectations of cool and wet weather for nearly all of the Rio Grande Valley and Deep South Texas, National Weather Service at Brownsville is reporting.
And now, residents are left to deal with a healthy crop of mosquitoes.
Laguna Vista officials have initiated a mosquito spraying program to curtail the problem, City Manager Rolando Vela said.
“The mosquito problem in Laguna Vista is no different than any other community,” he said.
“We sprayed once. We will spray again at the end of the week. We are advised to not spray more than twice a week. Increasing the frequency of spraying does not increase the effectiveness of the chemical used to kill mosquitoes,” Vela said.
As rains continue off-and-on locally, the Town will continue to respond to the problem.
“We will continue to mosquito spray and throw mosquito dunks and Altosid pellets on the standing water areas,” Vela said.
In the meantime, he urges Laguna Vista residents to take precautions against mosquito bites by reducing outdoor activity during evening and nighttime hours. Residents who are outside during these times should cover their arms and legs and use a mosquito repellant, he said.
“Residents should eliminate standing water to prevent mosquito breeding and the spread of West Nile virus,” the city manager said. “Breeding places for mosquitoes include swimming pools that are not kept clean, stagnant ponds, pet watering dishes, birdbaths, potted plants, old tires, empty containers, toys and clogged rain gutters and French drains. Standing water should be eliminated promptly, as mosquitoes can grow from egg to adult in as little as seven days,” he said.
Nearly every location in South Texas has received between two and five times their monthly average of rain, the National Weather Service reported.
“Mosquitoes and other insects will gestate and be out in force with more standing high water than typically seen in spring and early summer,” according to NWS.
The continued wet weather is also causing some agricultural problems locally.
The cool, gray, damp to wet winter and spring has many farmers frustrated. “Critical cash crops, particularly cotton and sugar, were struggling under the lack of sunshine, lower humidity, and persistent and piling up rains as of late March 2015. Little-to-no cotton has been planted due to the exceptionally moist conditions across the Valley, and sugarcane harvests were severely delayed due to the soaked soil. Winter vegetables also suffered, particularly onions. Each crop listed here requires periodic hot, dry conditions to allow for proper growth and harvesting,” the NWS reports say.
But, there was a general silver lining: the abundant rainfall benefited ranchers and other livestock managers, as high and thick growth of rangeland grasses provide abundant feed for the region’s cattle population, according to reports.
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