Northern Nevada to see increase in mosquitoes this year
Nevada’s increased precipitation brings an increased chance to see a lot more mosquitoes this summer.
Because of the amount of water brought from the storms this year, many areas will stay wetter for longer, allowing mosquitoes more opportunities to increase their breeding grounds.
“With our current water and pending water at the lake, our typical areas will be impacted for longer this year than years past,” said Dustin Booth, disease control and prevention manager with Carson City Health and Human Services.
Booth said that areas like Anderson Ranch, the pond by the Butti Way treatment plant and other areas around town are ones they look at year after year.
The increase of water leads to the potential for more mosquitoes because it allows them the time and nutrients to complete their life cycle from egg to adult. Booth said that right now, while the air is cooler and the water is cold, the cycles can take some time, however, as the warmer weather comes in, that heat speeds up the life cycle process.
“It’s a balance with the amount of water and air temperature which will heat the water temperature because more water doesn’t mean more mosquitoes but the warm weather increases the potential,” Booth said.
The city will try to work in large area such as Saddleranch Park by spraying that with a chemical by helicopter that kills the mosquito larvae as well as spraying individual spots around town.
With the risk of increased mosquitoes comes the increased risk for viruses spread by the insects. Most commonly seen around these areas is the West Nile disease which can be transferred to humans from mosquitoes.
Booth and similar departments in Washoe and Douglas counties will trap batches to test, however not all will get tested. He said they can see travel associated viruses such as Zika come into Northern Nevada, but local concern is West Nile.
There are things Carson City residents can do to help combat the problem. To protect themselves, make sure to wear mosquito repellent and wear long sleeves and pants at dusk and dawn when the mosquitoes are most active. If residents have standing water near their homes, it is best to move the water around so it isn’t sitting in the same spot. Booth recommends checking for any water leaks in swamp coolers or changing the water out of birdbaths weekly. He also suggests that if residents have ponds to make sure they are working properly because mosquitoes don’t like running water and if the pond is empty to purchase chemicals that will kill off mosquito larvae.
“Mosquitoes can breed in not much water,” Booth said.