Year after year of enduring the hordes of salt marsh mosquitoes lead the citizens of Galveston County to form an association to develop a plan of action. Dr. Carl A. Nau, then Chairman of the Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health of the University of Texas Medical Branch, was made President. He along with Mr. Ed J. Fox, then Superintendent of Union Carbide, and Mrs. J.D. Smollen, a newspaper publisher, spearheaded an Advisory Committee. The committee explored several ways to deal with the growing mosquito problem. They found other counties to be successful in controlling mosquitoes and decided to take a step in that direction. They learned that according to Article 4477-2 of Vernon’s Civil Statues (Section 1), “In all counties of this State which border on the Gulf of Mexico, the Commissioners’ Court may call an election within sixty (60) days after the effective date of this Act, and at subsequent elections when called by the County Judge upon his being petitioned by two hundred (200) qualified voters to call such election to determine if the qualified voters of such county desire the establishment of a Mosquito Control District to embrace all the territory within said county, for the purpose of eradicating mosquitoes in said area…….” Petitions were then prepared and circulated, and close to 1,000 signatures of qualified voters were received during August of 1953. The issue was put to a vote and was passed.
Although county funds were not available in 1954 for the launch of the control program, the committee sought a Director and Consultant. Mr. William M. Cox, who had been in charge of mosquito control for the City of Galveston, was made Director, and Dr. Don W. Micks, Associate Professor of Preventive Medicine and Public Health at The University of Texas Medical Branch, was named Consultant.
The Galveston County Mosquito Control District began its operation on May 1, 1955 with a total budget of $35,000. Headquarters were set in Dickinson where our office stands today. Benzene hexachloride (BHC) dust was selected as the insecticide to be dispersed by the airplane and the truck-mounted power dusters.
The Gulf Coast Mosquito Control Association was also established. This association resulted in bringing together representatives from Chambers, Brazoria, Galveston, Jefferson, and Orange Counties. This association later became the Texas Mosquito Control Association.
After the success of the first year of the program, the budget was doubled to $75,000 for the following year. A larvicidal program was developed by using an oil-kerosene mixture in ditches.
After several hurricanes an emergency vector control budget was prepared. The control program was amplified by additional personnel, equipment and insecticide. At this time the BHC was replaced by DDT which in two years was also subject to mosquito resistance. A new insecticide, i.e., malathion became available and was adopted as the new control agent. Initially it was employed as a fog later being used as a 5% dust by both ground equipment and airplane against mosquitoes. In 1967 a new and efficient method was introduced. Ultra low volume (ULV) allows 5 fluid ounces of malathion concentrate to be sprayed to cover an entire acre with microscopic droplets of malathion. This agent has had an enormous success in Galveston County and is still being used today.
Today Galveston County Mosquito Control has 13 full time employees, 17 spray trucks, two aircrafts, and an annual budget over a million dollars.