Preparing for Increased Mosquito Numbers - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Preparing for Increased Mosquito Numbers

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If the lakes are not on your mind heading into summer, the mosquitoes probably are.

We are coming off one of the driest summers that had virtually none, but our average amount of snow this winter and the recent rain could change that this year.

The ground and soil have been soaking up the recent moisture, but it only takes about a half inch of water for mosquitoes to reproduce.

Areas like ditches, which have been dry for the past year, are starting to show signs of moisture.

Cass County Vector Control Director Ben Prather says, "Some of the sites that typically produce mosquitoes have enough to produce mosquitoes at this point."

Prather says get ready because 10-14 days from now people will be noticing the effects.

"There's a likelihood they're going to start seeing some mosquitoes. I don't think there's going to be a massive outbreak," he adds.

Even without a massive outbreak, though, crews continue taking counts and treating areas with standing water to stay on top of the first batch of mosquitoes since last June.

They are also already looking ahead to when the mosquitoes start to fly.

Prather says, "At some point in time, I fully anticipate we're going to be out with our trucks and aircraft."

Last year it was so dry Vector Control saved nearly $100,000 in overtime and pesticides costs.

Typically using trucks in the Fargo-West Fargo area costs about $8,500 dollars. To aerial spray from West Fargo to Dilworth costs more than $80,000.

The biggest battle in the coming week will be the rain. Just an inch of rain will knock out all treatment progress.

"A three inch rainfall through a thunderstorm is a game changer, and sets the tone for the remainder part of the year," says Prather.

The other thing that may be on the minds of everyone is the West Nile virus. Last year was the worst year in history across the country. In Cass County there were eight cases.

That species of mosquito really does not take off until July or August, but Prather says you should still be wearing bug spray at dusk and dawn.

Right now there is no time table on when they will be bringing out the trucks or planes for spraying. Typically it depends on the number of mosquitoes they are finding and when they know there will be a large number of people around for the holidays.

West Nile will also be a big factor this year.


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