Battling Zika: Different methods being used to stop mosquitoes

With a possible spread of Zika across the U.S., many are wondering how to protect themselves from the disease. Because it's mainly transmitted by mosquitos, people are turning to companies, specializing in mosquito control. Others are inviting bats into their yards, putting up "bat boxes."

There are only two of the more than 3500 mosquito species carrying the Zika virus and both are in Central Texas. There isn't a way to completely protect yourself from getting Zika or any other virus mosquitoes transmit, but there are ways to try to prevent it from making it to your backyard.

So far, there haven't been any confirmed mosquitoes in the U.S. carrying the Zika virus, but that doesn't stop people from being worried.

Gordon Ramsey is a Sales Manager for Mosquitonix, “Whether we have Zika here or not, there's been West Nile Virus, so there's always been concern as far as taking care of the mosquitoes.”

Mosquitonix focuses on removing mosquitoes from people's yards all together. They use a fogging method, or a more permanent misting system. Both have a synthetic or organic option, neither harmful.

“After a short period of time, it's dry, you don't have to worry about pets, kids, it's all pets kid friendly,” Ramsey said.

Some people are turning to more natural options. Carolyn Birdsong is a bat house owner. "They have to be at least 12 feet up, and have a clearing and then trees, so they can be able to drop down before they fly away."

Bat boxes in backyards are becoming quite popular across the United States. Bats are very effective with insect control, especially mosquitoes and experts say a colony of bats can eat thousands of mosquitoes in one hour. 

“If you could start putting bat houses every so often, you could get rid of a lot of mosquitoes," Birdsong said.

According to Bat Conservation International here in Austin, the species most known for Zika aren't typically flying around at night, so residents shouldn't rely on solely on bats to help prevent Zika.

The CDC said the best way to prevent the spread of the disease would be to stop mosquitoes breeding and biting in the first place. It continues to stress wearing mosquito repellant, and removing or cleaning any standing water near your home once a week.

Governor Greg Abbott met with the Texas Department of State Health Services Wednesday regarding Zika. He said, "The State of Texas is continuing to work with both local and federal partners to implement our Zika response plan. I would like to thank Commissioner Hellerstedt for coordinating this joint effort to ensure that Texas is prepared for any and all cases of local transmission. Texas remains at the forefront in the nationwide effort to combat the Zika virus."

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