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Plano Releasing ‘Mosquitofish’ To Control Insect Population

Mosquitofish (Credit: City of Plano)

Mosquitofish (Credit: City of Plano)

Emily Trube KRLD Emily Trube
  Emily Trube started a career in broadcast journalism in 2003, after...
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PLANO (CBSDFW.COM) – Traditional mosquito treatments require traps, pesticides, and complex spraying vehicles. The City of Plano is employing a different tool to combat the insects — fish.

The city is releasing thousands of “mosquitofish” at two locations on Friday in an effort to reduce the number of mosquitoes and minimize potential for the spread of the West Nile Virus.

The fish, gambusia affinis, feed on mosquito larvae and can adapt to a variety of freshwater habitats.

“It’s an organic method of controlling mosquitoes, so there’s really no major chemical impact on the environment,” said Plano’s Environmental Director Geoff Heinicke.

The fish will be released at Pecan Hollow Golf Course and the City of Plano Parkway Service Center Friday afternoon.

Ground and aerial spraying were used extensively in Dallas last year to combat mosquitoes. However, Dallas County Health and Human Services Director Zach Thompson says the spraying has its limits.

“We don’t want to create a lot of spraying where you now build up a resistance to these mosquitoes,” said Thompson. “That’s an issue that we don’t have today. But the more we spray pesticide, you have to be cautious.”

Dallas City Council Member Rick Callahan would like the city of Dallas to also explore a more natural approach. That includes “recruiting” bats and bird species who eat the insects.

“Just one bat can consume 600 to 1,000 mosquitoes per hour — one bat,” said Callahan.

Officials in Dallas have warned that, despite having a cold winter, North Texas is still vulnerable to the spread of the West Nile Virus and mosquitoes.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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