Warm weather means mosquitoes are coming

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It’s the summer time pest we all seem to hate. “Mosquitoes, they are just disgusting and they make you itchy,” said Lissa Siple of York County. “I don’t let any water sit around. My son’s little kiddie pool, it gets dumped every night.”

With the warm weather mosquitoes are soon going to become a big problem in York County. “Warmer temperatures mean more mosquitoes, it also means we need to look out for West Nile Virus. With these warmer days that actually contributes to these warmer night-time temperatures then we’ll see an increase in virus activity,” said Tom Smith with the York County West Nile Virus Program.

The easiest and most effective way to get rid of these pests is to clean the clutter around your home. Even the smallest amount of water can be home to thousands of mosquitoes. With the warmer weather it only takes days for them to reproduce. “Mosquitoes depend on warmer temperatures for their life cycle,” said Smith. “The warmer it is the faster they mature.”

From the West Nile Virus Program: During the 2012 season mosquito trapping in York County collected over 112,000 adults and included 27 different species.  This is the highest number of mosquitoes ever collected in a season in York County.  In 2012, York County also had the highest number of samples testing positive in Pennsylvania for the detection of West Nile Virus in mosquito populations ranking first in Pennsylvania.  York County also ranked third in the nation for detection of West Nile Virus in mosquito populations.  The most common sources of high mosquito populations in urban areas continue to be from trash and yard clutter.  Residents are urged to contact your local municipality to help promote cleaning up to reduce mosquito concerns and disease risk.

Twelve years of surveillance in York County indicates that the most common mosquito species in residential areas; the House Mosquito (Culex spp.) and the Asian Tiger Mosquito (Aedes albopictus); are produced primarily from artificial containers left behind by humans.  Artificial containers can be something small like a bottle cap to sometimes as large as a swimming pool with shallow water.  Asian Tiger mosquitoes now take advantage of the corrugate pipe commonly used on downspouts.  Additional containers such as tires, buckets, tarps and roadside trash are preferred by mosquitoes because other predators found in nature that would prey on mosquito larvae are not present.  During periods of drought these containers continue to hold water and produce mosquitoes.  One bucket or tire in someone’s backyard can produce hundreds to thousands of mosquitoes in a year.

To keep mosquitoes from biting you use repellents when spending time outside.  If you don’t like to use repellents you can take an electric fan outside with you.  Mosquitoes don’t like the wind and the fan will help keep many away.  As a last resort residents can purchase insecticides from garden centers and hardware stores to spray in their own yard but be sure to follow the label instructions.

Information about mosquitoes, West Nile and repellents can be found at your local York County Library or by visiting the Penn State Extension York County website at http://extension.psu.edu/york and select Mosquitoes and Ticks under Spotlight.

New this year, York County residents are being asked to report mosquito concerns through the Pennsylvania West Nile Virus website www.westnile.state.pa.us