Mosquito abatement teams working overtime in parts of Utah
Aug 15, 2023, 7:57 PM | Updated: Aug 16, 2023, 5:41 am
BOX ELDER COUNTY, Utah — If you’ve spent any time outside recently, especially in northern Utah, chances are you have a few mosquito bites to show it.
Utah’s recent rainstorms have left a lot of standing water for mosquito larvae to hatch.
Even though mosquito abatement crews have been working almost nonstop to spray, the next week could be rough.
The phone calls have been nonstop at Box Elder County‘s Mosquito Abatement Program.
“We have received more phone calls in the last day or two than we generally receive in a year,” Tyson Packer said. “And we will get out to them.”
He is the assistant director for the Box Elder County Mosquito Abatement District.
This summer, because of the recent rainstorms, mosquitoes are everywhere.
“As soon as the first raindrop fell, we knew what was happening 10 days later,” Packer said.
Workers on the Davis County Mosquito Abatement Team are meticulously going through mosquitoes caught in traps to test them for West Nile Virus. We're doing a story on this for @KSL5TV at 5:00. #ksltv pic.twitter.com/rqAqNFZEjG
— Alex Cabrero (@KSL_AlexCabrero) August 15, 2023
Which is about where we are now.
All those phone calls are from people asking if the abatement team could do a little extra spraying near their homes and property.
There are millions of mosquitoes, by Packer’s calculations, and they’re now moving away from the marshlands near the Great Salt Lake after spending the past week in the larvae stage.“Then they’ve moved into town and they’ve moved actually a lot faster than we thought they would,” he said.
It’s not just Box Elder County.
Many northern Utah counties, like Davis County, are seeing more mosquitoes this summer as well because of all the extra water.
“It is a good, strong, flying mosquito and it will fly up to 20 miles. That is how they are leaving those marshlands and ending up in our subdivisions and neighborhoods in Davis County,” said Gary Hatch, director of the Davis County Mosquito Abatement Program.
Mosquitoes caught in traps are separated by species one at a time.
Workers then take the species known for carrying West Nile virus and test them.
“We have about 15 species of mosquito in Davis County,” Hatch said.
The good news is the extra mosquitoes we’re seeing this summer aren’t the species that typically carry West Nile virus.
“These floodwater mosquitoes are definitely a nuisance. They make you itch and they are a big nuisance. But West Nile virus is a very big concern and we focus a lot on trying to keep the virus and the virus activity to a minimum,” Hatch said.
So far, five cases of West Nile virus have been detected in mosquitoes found in Davis County.
Abatement crews in several counties are working extra shifts to spray for the pests.
They’re all thankful this isn’t a yearround issue.
“It is temporary,” Packer said. “Like I said, we’ll have it under control in a few days up to a week, until we get the next rainstorm that drops six inches of rain.”
The public is asked to help the situation by checking property for standing water that could easily be spilled out, such as in a bucket, wheelbarrow, or flipped-over garbage can lid.
If you notice extra mosquitoes on your property, you can contact your local mosquito abatement program to spray for them.