Control of vectors: Flies, Mosquitoes, Ticks and Fleas

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LAREDO, TEXAS (Health Department) - This is the fly breeding period (March-June) which is one of the reasons for the flies. In addition mosquito, tick and flea season is also upon us. To control flies, mosquitoes, fleas and ticks we must maintain clean yards, get rid of any standing water and decaying vegetation, dispose of trash correctly, especially organic matter (food products and animal droppings) and take care of our pets for ticks and fleas.

Public Health Concern:

Mosquitoes - Dengue and West Nile Fever (can cause illness to persons)

Flies – Nuisance and sanitation issue (inappropriate trash management and disposal)

Other vectors - Rodents, roaches, ticks and fleas (can cause illness to both persons and pets)


- Pick up trash, keep yards clean, dispose of decaying vegetation, pick up solid waste from pets and animals

- Put all food scraps/drippings, food oils and grease into bags or used containers cover and/or close tight and then put into the trash can.

- Cover your trash can close lid tight

- Wash trash can once a week (can use white vinegar and water) make sure its dry before re-use

- One part vinegar and two parts water, apply throughout can and scrub, rinse and dry in sun, do not leave wet

- Cover bottom of trash can with paper to absorb liquids (food scraps, liquids, fats and grease from food and waste- highly attract flies)

- If necessary line garbage can with a trash bag or put items in smaller bags close them and put in the garbage can especially food items and animal waste (animal feces)

- Keep trash can in well ventilated area with tight lid closed at all times

- Coat the outside of the garbage can with vinegar to repel flies (bay or eucalyptus leaves might also repel -crush leaves slightly and hang around can)

- Keep area around garbage can clean and dry.

- Make sure to have good screens on windows and doors

- Restaurant, food establishments and apartment complexes with commercial dumpsters and/or garbage cans must maintain appropriate sanitation and close their trash and garbage containers appropriately with water tight lids as well they must empty their trash and waste in a timely manner. When trash is removed clean areas and pick-up debris.

- Get rid of dead animals and animal waste, keep pets and any animal feeding and keeping areas clean as their droppings breed flies.

- Empty lots with standing water can also breed flies, these need to be cleaned.

- One may need to use pest control, fly traps, electrocuting grids, swats but most effective is sanitation and hygiene

Mosquitoes and Other Vectors

- Get rid of standing water and dispose of trash and tires appropriately.

- Avoid mosquito bites by using insect repellent when outdoors. Use one that contains DEET.

- Spray clothing with insect repellent, since mosquitoes may bite through thin clothing.

- When possible, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants whenever you are outdoors.

- Use mosquito netting over infant carriers when you are outdoors.

- Consider staying indoors at dawn, dusk, and in the early evening, which are peak mosquito biting times. Do not sleep outdoors! If you exercise during these times, use repellants.

- Install or repair window and door screens to avoid having mosquitoes indoors.

- Mow tall grass and vegetation to reduce the amount of brush and foliage outside your home in order to eliminate resting sites for adult mosquitoes and other vectors.

- Clean and empty water from flower pots, pet food and water dishes, bird baths, swimming pools (use covers), buckets, barrels, and cans.

- Keep swimming pools clean, well maintained and chlorinated, empty solids, keep the area clean around the pool, and check for larvae. If you see an abandoned pool with water or a dirty pool, CALL 311!

- Check for clogged rain gutters and clean them out.

- Remove discarded tires and other items that could collect water (city is continuing to address illegal tire dumping and disposal and will start mosquito spraying in the public right away soon).

- We urge all horse owners to assure their horses are vaccinated against West Nile Virus and consult with their veterinarian with any questions.

- Take care of your pets with appropriate flea and tick control following directions of the treatments (shampoos), flea collars and as well may have to apply pest control and always consult your veterinarian.

- During hunting season or when hiking and walking in extreme vegetation use repellents on clothes, tuck your pants inside your boots and wear long sleeve shirts if possible,

Fleas and Ticks

A bite from an infected tick can cause illnesses such as Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Human Ehrlichiosis and Fleas for our area can cause Typhus.

Lyme disease usually begins with flu-like symptoms such as fatigue, headache, fever, stiff neck and joint pain. Occasionally there may be skin lesions or rashes, usually around the site of the tick bite.

Untreated, Lyme disease can result in severe damage to joints, the heart and nervous system.

Both Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Human Ehrlichiosis can create a measles-like rash and can be fatal if not treated quickly.

Typhus can produce high fever, muscle pain, headaches and rash. Fleas and ticks can also cause severe disease in pets.

- Ticks are often found on wooded, brushy, grassy areas and on animals, avoid these areas during tick season

- Laredo is a tick zone need to take precautions in these areas (most of Laredo and Webb County)

- Use insect repellent containing Deet (follow package directions carefully)

- Use permethrin spay on clothes, do not use on body

- Stay on trails outdoors and avoid areas of overgrown brush and tall grasses

- Wear protective clothing such as a hat, long-sleeved shirt and long pants tucked into boots or socks.

- Wear light colored clothes so you can easily spot ticks.

- Remove ticks using tweezers (grasp tick as close to the skin as possible) and with a steady motion, pull the tick straight out. Do not crush the tick. Wash hands! One can place the live tick in a container and mail it to the City of Laredo Health Department for identification and testing.

- Keep yards clean, keep wood above ground,

- Inspect pets and bathe frequently with appropriate tick and flea treatment, get veterinarian care and follow their instructions on flea and tick control.

- Treating pets against fleas and ticks may take several treatments as well all neighbors need to clean their yards and treat their pets.

For more information you can call the City of Laredo Health Department, Epidemiology Division at (956) 795-4938 or the Environmental Health Office at (956) 795-4904, Animal Care Services at (956) 795-4902 or (956) 717-5762.

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