West Nile near
So far no West Nile cases have been reported in Atascosa County, but with cases as close as Bexar and Frio counties caution is advised.
DALLAS With Dallas officials having declared a state of emergency in regards to West Nile virus, Texas AgriLife Extension Service personnel are being flooded with calls from area school integrated pest management coordinators seeking information to allay parents and teachers mosquito concerns once school starts.
Its a valid concern, but one thats manageable, said Janet Hurley, AgriLife Extension state school integrated pest management specialist headquartered in Dallas County. State law mandates that public school districts in Texas, all 1,030 of them, must have a trained integrated pest management coordinator on staff. They are trained to deal with situations such as the mosquito problems we are seeing in many parts of the state now.
A call to local school districts verified local IPMs. McMullen County-Dale Paterson and Mark Chatman, operation directors; Charlotte-Martin Chavarria, maintenance director; Jourdanton Jacob Reyna, maintenance director; Pleasanton- Tim Carpenter, maintenance director and Poteet-Tim Coyle-project manager and operations director.
Hurley explained that integrated pest management uses a number of practices to control pests in the safest, most effective way possible that has the least amount of impact on the environment.
AgriLife Extension is the lead agency among several agencies that can provide the training for IPM coordinators, she said. And the Texas Department of Agriculture is the regulatory agency that is responsible for doing on-site inspections to ensure the mandate is being met and the school or school district is in compliance.
A big question has been whether mosquito repellents can be used by students in school, she said.
According to Michael Kelly, Texas Department of Agriculture structural pest control service coordinator at Austin, Given the need for parents of school children to have the option of protecting their student from the possibility of a vector borne disease, parents may apply mosquito repellents to their children and mosquito repellents may be kept in the nurses office in the event that reapplication is necessary.
It would be up to each school district to determine whether or not they want to allow the practice of keeping mosquito repellents, sent by parents for their children, in the nurses office, he concluded.
Hurley said the announcement from the Texas Department of Agriculture is important, because the repellent issue had some school districts worrying about breaking school pesticide rules. She said Kellys comments should allay concerns in favor of protecting students when school starts.
Cecil Fueston is McKinney Independent School Districts Integrated Pest Management Coordinator and one of a number of area coordinators working with Hurley. He said good communication both within the district and the community is the key component to a successful pest control