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Conditions Ripe for Mosquitoes

Warm Weather and Standing Water Prime Conditions for Mosquitoes

Biology Professor Ted Burk on Mosquitoes - MP3

While the weather in the Midwest seems to have settled down enough for most places to start drying out, there is another concern on the horizon. The standing water left behind in many communities, and the warmer weather, is making for prime breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Creighton University Biology Professor Ted Burk says the conditions are ripe for a bad outbreak of mosquitoes.

"The weather lately has been pretty warm so thatís a bad combination with the warm weather and all the standing water, we probably are going to have a really nasty crop of mosquitoes in a couple of weeks." 

Burk says while it may be difficult to get rid of standing water in areas that are flooded, it is important to be vigilant about areas that can be controlled. He says to drain birdbaths every three or four days, empty containers that might be full from the recent rains, and he says another place people donít often think about, is their gutters.

"If youíve got a clogged gutter, that can back up the water and you can raise thousands and thousands of mosquitoes in backed up gutters."

And check the bottom of your recycle bin and your trash cans for small puddles of water, and if necessary drill a few small holes to allow better drainage, because as Burk says, it doesnít take much water and the with the warmer temperatures, it could take as a little as a week to have thousands or millions of mosquitoes in your yard. And in Nebraska, the two types of common mosquitoes also carry West Nile Virus. So the use of repellents, especially those that contain DEET, is important.

"Obviously you have to be really careful with children, donít have them put it on themselves, you put it on them, you put it on their clothes, on exposed skin, but be alert to any signs of a rash or allergic reaction or something. Donít use it anymore than you have to."

If at all possible avoid going out at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are likely to be out in full force and wear long sleeved shirts and long pants if you are going to be in areas that may have lots of mosquitoes, like cool wooded areas.