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Mosquitoes pose big problem in San Elizario

By: Gina Benitez
SAN ELIZARIO, Texas -- The warm weather and recent rains seem to have brought out uninvited guests in one area of the county.

San Elizario streets looks normal during the day, but once the sun starts to set, mosquitoes swarm.

"When it's starting to get dark, we don't go out. I just keep my kids inside. They play in there and that's it," said Manuel Lopez.

"A lot, in this area there's a lot (of mosquitoes). In the evening, we can't go outside, there's so many mosquitoes," sad Dora Sierra.

Sierra said it's a pretty consistent pattern this time of year. Her neighbor, Lopez, said he's noticed a recent spike.

"With these past few rains that we've had in the past, it's been a lot of mosquitoes. My wife even called the county," Lopez said.

"We're in the San Elizario area about once a week. And we also respond to complaints and issues raised by citizens or other county officials and we can go in and investigate if there's high mosquito activity in an area," said Karl Rimkus, an environmental scientist with the city of El Paso's Code Compliance Division.

The county and the city have an inter-local agreement -- in other words, a yearly contract where the city performs certain health and environmental services for the county for a fee.

"In this case, vector control activities involve fogging for adult mosquitoes, applying larvacide to standing bodies of water, and trapping for mosquitoes to determine areas of mosquito breeding and activity," Rimkus said.

The code compliance division said it's not that the outlying county areas are neglected; the geography out here just makes things a little more challenging.

"Of course in the low-lying areas of the valley, because there is a lot of standing water, there's really not a lot of places for the water to drain to, there's onsite ponding," Rimkus said.

Which leads to the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes.

But for some, like Sierra, know it's just what comes with the territory.

"We go out with repellant and there's no problem, the mosquito repellant. I guess we're just used to it," Sierra said.

The contract San Elizario is a part of also includes all other unincorporated areas of the county.

The incorporated areas like Socorro and Anthony have their own separate contracts for similar services.



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