Wet, cool weather produces onslaught of mosquitoes


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RANDOLPH -- Get ready, Salt Lake: They're coming. In one northern Utah county, mosquitoes have already arrived, and public officials are getting beat up over it.

"People are upset because the mosquitoes are here, and there's an abundance of them, and they're very vicious," said Bill Cox, chairman of the Rich County Commission.

Sammie Dickson, Salt Lake City's mosquito abatement manager, warned, "We've got a lot of adult mosquitoes fixing to fly into Salt Lake City," said .

Blame it on the cold or the rain, but either way, it's Mother Nature dishing out an unwelcome dose of aggravation: A bumper crop of mosquitoes, coming soon, to an outdoor activity near you.

It's likely to get pretty bad in Salt Lake in the next few days. But up around Randolph in Rich County, some people think it's the worst mosquito attack ever.

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"It's horrible. They're horrible. You can't do anything. You can't go outside. You can't ride your horses," said Randolph resident Leslie Argyle.

In this agricultural county, animals may be getting the worst of it. Some of them have to slog through ditches and fields flooded with rainwater, where bugs are breeding like crazy.

But people are suffering too. "Just getting in my truck last night to leave, there was at least a hundred in there," said Rich County resident Connie Wilson. "I was swatting them all the way down the road."

Claudio Winder, who also lives in Rich County, said, "When my little grandson goes to sleep, and he's only 2, and he wakes up in the morning, he's got about 15 bites on him."

In theory, the skeeters that fly in the daytime aren't anything to worry about; they're just a nuisance. The bad ones are the ones that fly at night, because they sometimes carry the West Nile Virus.

Rich County and Randolph City leaders demonstrated the fogging system they've been using. They plan aircraft spraying as well, but they're having trouble keeping up. All the standing water has produced enormous quantities of mosquito eggs.

"Now it's warmed up, and now they're coming and they're coming in a vengeance because there's a lot of eggs to hatch," Cox said.

It's a similar story in marshes near the Great Salt Lake. Expect an onslaught along the Wasatch Front.

"It's hart to say for all summer, but I think in the next week to two weeks we're going to have more mosquitoes than we've had in several years," Dickson said.

E-mail: jhollenhorst@ksl.com

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