FORT WORTH — For the second year, the City of Fort Worth is teaming up with the UNT Health Science Center to combat West Nile virus.
Dr. Joon-Hak Lee placed a trap behind Fire Station No. 6 in west Fort Worth on Wednesday. Other traps have been placed at each fire station and at other locations for a total of 50 routine testing sites.
Lee explained that he lures mosquitoes with a tea brewed from hay and grass clippings. Normally, he said, the net over the solution traps about 40 insects. But a trap at the Fort Worth Nature Center caught roughly 1,000 mosquitoes on Tuesday.
“That doesn’t mean the city has a lot more mosquitoes than last year,” said Lee, adding that it's still too early to say whether this will be a bad year for mosquitoes or West Nile.
His students at UNT Health Science Center determine whether the insects carry the virus. The arrangement allows for a rapid response by the city, usually within 24 to 48 hours.
Mayor Betsy Price toured the lab where students were analyzing mosquitoes on Wednesday. She said the partnership with UNTHSC saves taxpayers time and money.
The head of code enforcement said the partnership costs the city about $200,000 a year. Price said it would cost a lot more if the city tried to handle trapping and testing in-house.
Lee said mid-June to mid-July is the worst time for mosquitoes and West Nile.