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Comal County Expands Its Efforts To Fight Mosquitoes

TPR archive
The mosquito that carries the Zika virus.

An existing state law has paved the way for Comal County to fight mosquitoes -- even on privately owned property.

The law allows some limited authority to address nuisances that pose a threat to public health. Standing water where mosquitoes breed is one such threat because of diseases spread by the insect such as Zika virus.

Comal County this week implemented a new policy based on the law that allows workers to abate mosquitoes on unoccupied or abandoned properties. Treatment would be spurred first by a complaint and after the county provides property owners with written notice said County Engineer Tom Hornseth.

“We typically cannot and do not go onto private property,” Hornseth said. “However, state law gives us some limited authority to address nuisances that pose a threat to public health, and that includes standing water where mosquitoes are breeding.”

The notice will include a deadline for property owners to respond. If the deadline is not met, the county can treat the area for mosquitoes, likely by using larvicide.

For occupied properties, the county will work with the residents to address the problem, Hornseth said. Residents with mosquito concerns can call the county’s Environmental Health at 830-608-2090.

According to a news release, Comal County and New Braunfels have ramped up efforts to reduce the risk posed by mosquitoes.

Steps have included:

  • County road crews and New Braunfels Public Works Department treat standing water in public rights of way with larvicide.
  • New Braunfels Code Enforcement staff responds to complaints about standing water on vacant or unimproved property.
  • The Comal County office of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service has conducted trainings for master naturalists and master gardeners about how to prevent mosquito breeding and keep oneself safe from mosquito bites.
  • The county’s Moe Schwab Recycling Center accepts tires, which are prime mosquito breeding grounds, and New Braunfels also accepts tires at its quarterly bulk household goods drop-off locations.

Tips for controlling mosquitoes and more information about Zika virus can be found at texaszika.org