(credit: Chuck Schechner/KRLD)

(credit: Chuck Schechner/KRLD)

ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) – A number of North Texas cities have already launched their attack on the mosquitoes responsible for West Nile Virus. Workers in the City of Arlington are among those getting an early jump on the season.

Jason Williams works for a company contracted with the city. Friday he and a crew were busy dipping water from small creeks, and then placing larvicide in the water to kill off mosquito larva.

Williams said the temperature outside will determine when the season begins. “You can have an Indian summer and of course have a much longer season. And of course if you have a warm spring it can certainly get the virus ramped up a lot faster.”

As Williams waded into one creek and gathered a test sample, he found a specific species. “There is a culex mosquito larva in here,” he pointed out.

The approach of putting larvicide in the water is meant to mosquitoes before they mature and take flight. “So we treat the mosquitoes before they can become adults and before they can transmit the virus,” Williams said adding, “It’s easier to get to the mosquito and kill them in the larvae stage, when they are in a smaller area, than it is to try to get mosquitoes on the wing.”

The larvicide is very effective and deadly to the insects. “It actually destroys the gut lining. Mosquitoes stop feeding and they die.”

So far, Arlington officials have not found any mosquitoes that have tested positive for West Nile. But North Texas has already had one West Nile related death this year. The victim, who was in their 70s, contracted the disease last year.

For months local health officials have been urging North Texans to remember the five D’s when it comes to controlling the presence of mosquitoes.

DRAIN—all areas of standing water including changing water in wading pools, birdbaths, and cleaning out gutters;
DEET—Use bug spray and protect clothing with repellents containing permethrin or DEET;
DRESS—Dress in light- colored clothing with long sleeves and wear long pants;
DUSK/DAWN—Limit outdoor exposure at dusk and dawn;
DOORS—Keep door and window screens in good repair