Entomologist Discusses Ways to Stay Safe this Mosquito Season

By: Stephanie Ando Email
By: Stephanie Ando Email

Mosquitoes are hatching and taking to the air again, especially with the recent rain creating abundant breeding grounds.

Even the youngest people at Sue Haswell Park in Bryan have noticed that mosquito season is here.

"I'm always getting bit. But my cousins, they never get bit," said Kayla Sanchez.

It's a problem many have faced, but every one at the park had their own theory as to why.

"They just like certain people, because I think they like their blood," said Vanesa Sifuentes.

"I think the mosquitoes just like certain people's perfume," said Sanchez.

"I have no clue," laughed Richard Stone.

Dr. Gabe Hamer is an entomologist and clinical assistant professor at Texas A&M. He has spent the last 10 years studying mosquitoes and other insects.

"The bacteria we have in our bodies that are a little bit unique, that might be a subtle way that mosquitoes perceive people differently," said Hamer.

Dr. Hamer says mosquitoes don't discriminate based on people's age or gender, but they do respond to certain colors and body temperatures differently.

He says Brazos County doesn't have a well-developed mosquito control program, so people need to protect themselves against mosquito-borne diseases.

"If conditions are right, we could see another big year this year," said Dr. Hamer. "I'd suggest that people pay attention to the breeding of mosquitoes in their own yard."

He says the best way to avoid West Nile Virus is to prevent mosquito bites. That's why people should drain standing water outside the house, wear insect repellent, avoid being outside at dusk and dawn, and wear long sleeves.

Statistics from the State Department of Health and Human Services show that 2012 was the deadliest year for West Nile since it started tracking the virus in 2002.

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