Agencies Trying to Stay Ahead of Mosquitoes

Agencies Trying to Stay Ahead of Mosquitoes

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Ed Yeates ReportingIn case you haven't noticed, some mosquitoes are already up and moving about. But then, so are a number of state agencies, moving quickly now trying to stay one jump ahead of the upcoming West Nile season.

Warmer temperatures and melting snows make a perfect recipe for our seasonal visitor - the mosquito. But these early bugs, at least for now, are ones you don't have to worry about. Dr. Sam Dickson with Salt Lake City's Mosquito Abatement District says these early hatching flyers fortunately are not the villains for West Nile.

Dr. Sam Dickson, SLC Mosquito Abatement District: "The good thing about that are the mosquitoes that are out there right now are a nuisance and they'll make you itch. But they won't give you any disease."

But that disease - West Nile - is sure to come in a matter of months, carried by our later hatching nighttime biters. It showed up in Utah late last year and this, our second season, could be the bad one.

Kris Fehlberg, Division of Wildlife Resources: "But if we do have something like Colorado, we want to prepare for that. So we're trying to expand all of our surveillance techniques to try and cover if we do get a worst case scenario."

Kris Fehlberg with the Division of Wildlife Resources was training a lot of people today from a number of state agencies, showing them how to take mouth swabs from dead birds, how to handle them carefully to avoid infection.

This year DWR will expand its surveillance of potential carrier birds throughout the state. Abatement Districts plan to begin trapping for mosquitoes next week - a month earlier than usual.

Dr. Sam Dickson, SLC Mosquito Abatement District: "One of the species that transmits west nile over winters is an adult female. And when she comes out of hibernation, we want to know because then she'll start biting and laying eggs."

Dickson says previously crews would start spraying waters when four or more larvae were found in a single cup of test water. This year they have zero tolerance, spraying will begin when only one larva is found in the cup.

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