Mosquitoes Return Early With Warm Temperatures
The warm temperatures have brought mosquitoes out of hibernation early this year. Time to stock up on mosquito repellant.
“Between mid-to-late April is typically when we start seeing mosquito activity in isolated areas," said Terrie Wierenga, the administrative manager for the Cache Mosquito Abatement District. "This year, with all the water and the early warm up, I was receiving calls by the end of March.”
There are nearly 3,000 species of mosquito in the world, and in Utah, two species of the Culex mosquitoes carry diseases like the West Nile Virus.
“Our rule of thumb is if we can kill one female mosquito by Memorial Day, then we’ve effectively killed one million mosquitoes by Labor Day," Wierenga said.
Field operations manager Richard Rigby investigates standing pools of water around the county. The most effective method of mosquito population control is treating water with larvicide, a pesticide that poisons mosquito larva.
"We have never wanted to eradicate the mosquitoes," Wierenga said. "They do serve as food source for a number of birds, other insects, aquatic organisms and bats. Our main purpose is to number one, control the nuisance mosquitoes, and the ones that carry diseases.”
If the mosquito population gets too high, Rigby and his team of field workers spray pesticides, or “fogging,” to target adult mosquitoes in urban areas.
“We do everything we can to minimize the effect on the public. Our main purpose is to protect public health," he said.
The program uses EPA-registered insecticides. However, Cache County residents can apply for a no-spray zone under certain circumstances.
“The three things we do not spray is for health, beekeepers, and organic farmer," Rigby said.
There are also easy ways the public can help bring down mosquito populations.
If you have a birdbath, or a dog water bowl, a cat water bowl outside, just dump them out every two days. And that’s enough to break the breeding cycle," Wierenga said. “Check around their yard, their farmhouse, wherever, and get rid of any standing water. A half a cup is all it takes.”