Mosquito populations surge thanks to runoff and heat wave

Jul 17, 2023, 7:15 PM | Updated: 7:17 pm

CACHE VALLEY, Utah — Mosquito numbers are surging, thanks in part to our heat wave and our plentiful water year. But abatement crews are using technology to help fight back.

The Bear River is creating a lot more breeding ground for the mosquitoes, already during a year where there are signs that it could be a busy time for the West Nile Virus. 

Richard Rigby, manager at the Cache County Mosquito Abatement District, said their newest drones can help fight this age-old problem of fighting mosquitos.

“So we’re hoping that it will be a better coverage, plus get us more of an even spread as well,” Rigby said. “As of last Thursday, we had almost 120 acres, just with the drone.”

Districts across the Wasatch Front have started using drones in recent years. Cache County is just getting theirs at a time when Rigby said they’re seeing a big surge.

“This last week, about a 60 percent increase from this same time last year,” he said.

The district’s drone spraying granules to kill mosquitoes. (Mike Anderson/KSL TV)

A problem that comes from an abundance of standing water being pushed along as our high temperatures help mosquitoes develop faster. Rigby said flooded farmland is leaving behind plenty of pools for the laying of eggs.

“Specifically into the north end of the county that’s jumped up,” he said.

At the same time, Davis County is already reporting finding the West Nile Virus in mosquitoes around Syracuse. The earlier-than-normal signs of the disease could be a sign of a busy season ahead.

It’s another reason, why it pays to cover more ground, as granules are dropped from the sky.

“But 70 percent of what we really do is the going out and trying to find the larvae in the water and treating them to get more bang for the buck, so to speak,” Rigby said.

His team is always fighting a familiar problem. Rigby said each mosquito season seems to have its own set of challenges.

“We’re out there every day trying to hit what we can luckily, our products will last up to 21 days,” he said.

Rigby said as a reminder, remove any standing water from your yard, use mosquito repellent, and if you’re going to be out at dusk, ideally, you should wear pants and long sleeves.

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Mosquito populations surge thanks to runoff and heat wave