What’s the Buzz on West Nile Virus? Mosquito Expert Provides Tips on Abatement for ‘Mosquito Week’

  • Richard Duhrkopf
    Richard, Duhrkopf, Ph.D., biology professor in Baylor's College of Arts & Sciences
June 24, 2014

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WACO, Texas (June 24, 2014) — Mosquito bites can trigger more than just irritated, itchy skin. They can signal the beginning of potentially harmful diseases such as West Nile Virus. This week for National Mosquito Control Awareness Week, Richard Duhrkopf, Ph.D., biology professor in Baylor’s College of Arts & Sciences, provides several tips on how to avoid being bitten and reduce the number of mosquitoes buzzing around.

“In any location, there are hundreds of different types of mosquitoes with different characteristics. Some are more likely than others to transmit diseases like the West Nile Virus. Mosquito populations are associated with heat and rainfall. So, if we have regular rainfall, we will have mosquitoes,” Duhrkopf said.

He said eliminating standing water is crucial in reducing mosquito populations that could be carriers of disease.

“Any object that can hold water can become a mosquito breeding site. Five-gallon buckets have become popular to hold gardening materials and a variety of things in a yard,” Duhrkopf said. “These can also hold water and breed mosquitoes. But, it does not have to be something that large. A soda can is able to collect enough rainwater to foster the breeding of mosquitoes.”

Duhrkopf, regional director for the national American Mosquito Control Association, said one of the most effective ways to prevent mosquito bites is awareness.

“Anyone can help to reduce mosquito populations by simply being aware of the places mosquitoes breed. Getting rid of mosquitoes will greatly decrease the chance you and your family have for getting West Nile,” Duhrkopf said.

This week has been declared the eighteenth annual “National Mosquito Control Awareness Week” or “Mosquito Week” by the American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA). The AMCA, an international organization of nearly 2,000 public health professionals, has been dedicated to preserving the public’s health and well-being through safe, environmentally sound mosquito control programs since 1935.


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having “high research activity” by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 15,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 11 nationally recognized academic divisions. Baylor sponsors 19 varsity athletic teams and is a founding member of the Big 12 Conference.


The College of Arts & Sciences is Baylor University’s oldest and largest academic division, consisting of 26 academic departments and 13 academic centers and institutes. The more than 5,000 courses taught in the College span topics from art and theatre to religion, philosophy, sociology and the natural sciences. Faculty conduct research around the world, and research on the undergraduate and graduate level is prevalent throughout all disciplines.

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