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Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Campus

What UH does to keep the mosquitoes away


What UH does to keep the mosquitoes away - The Cougar mosquito

Juana Garcia/The Cougar

When it rains in Houston, residents may worry about flooding and driving, but many forget the after effects of what standing water can do to them

Mosquitoes thrive in wet, humid climates like Houston and breed in pools of still standing water. Houston is ranked as one of the best places for mosquitoes, which is not great for the human residents of the city. UH, while in the heart of the swampy city, seems to lack this problem and Executive Director of Facilities Services Jeffrey Benjamin said it’s due to UH’s prevention efforts.

“We outsource mosquito spray to a pest control company,” Benjamin said. “They spray between the hours of 12 a.m. to about 3 a.m.”

The company sprays around the most populous places on campus. Around the residence halls, the fountain and the more internal areas of campus are some of the top places the trucks hit, Benjamin said.

Areas that Facilities cannot help as much as they would like to include the land that surrounds the bayou and forested areas, Benjamin said.

“Down by the Bayou is a little different,” Benjamin said. “The water doesn’t stagnate but along the bayou you’ll get wet areas and it’ll become a breeding ground for mosquitoes.”

On top of spraying for mosquitoes, Facilities also does their best to prevent standing water on campus, which prevents new, hungry mosquito babies.

“We do a good job of identifying areas where we have standing water,” Benjamin said. “Places you might see are retention ponds and things like that are prime breeding grounds.”

The City of Houston tests mosquitoes in the area to determine whether or not they are carrying potentially deadly diseases. While UH does not test mosquitoes, they do stay aware of any cases around Houston, Benjamin said.

Student experiences with mosquitoes vary. Some report that they barely think about them, which is they consider a good thing, because they are not getting bitten by them.

“I don’t usually see mosquitoes on the campus at all,” said biomedical engineering senior Amina Durrani. “Maybe towards the Cullen building near the Student Center, but other than that I don’t really see them.”

Others still say that they get eaten up when they step foot outside, but at certain times of day only.

“Right now, if I go in the afternoon, I always get bitten,” said biology and health junior Brooke Birks. “During the day I don’t really see them or get bitten.”

The best way to not get bitten would be to stay inside during peak mosquito hours, early morning and late evening, and wear mosquito spray when outside, Benjamin said.

“Wear mosquito repellent with deet, it’s a specific pesticide that mosquitoes just don’t like,” Benjamin said. “It works really well. It comes in a lotion form and a spray form.”

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