County says community effort required to control mosquitoes

HOUSTON – County officials have been telling you time and time again to remove tires and containers from yards because they are breeding grounds for mosquitoes, which carry viruses such as Zika, and experts want to stop the pests before they're ever infected.

“It's a community effort and we really need everyone to be involved in that,” said Mustapha Debboun, director of mosquito control for Harris County Public Health.

However, Brad Pettit is like many residents in that he never expected to be all alone on the front lines fighting mosquito-borne illnesses while also fighting to keep his home above water.

He thought mosquitoes would be the least of his worries, assuming it would be the county's burden, but Public Health says this problem is mostly yours.

“We can't just go spray whenever the mosquitoes are out because, A, they could be just nuisance mosquitoes (and), B, it's a large area, you're going to need so much pesticide that you're just wasting it because they're not diseased mosquitoes,” Debboun said.

The county says it will only spray if its traps find mosquitoes are carrying disease.

“It was a surprise to us to hear that!” Gayle Minto said.

Gayle Minto, president of Hunters Park Community Association, said the organization is having to take on the responsibility, and just hired someone to spray the neighborhood.

“We were still lobbying them [Harris County] to try and get out here. In the meantime, we contacted several pest control companies to come out and give us a bid,” she said. “They're due to start today. We're doing very short term, we've asked for three treatments in the next two weeks.”

She said the cost of the pest control averages about $0.22 per household.

Pettit says he does not care how it gets done, as long as it does.

“We've got different types of OFF! we've tried to spray and they just still attack. They're very aggressive right now,” Pettit said.