ENVIRONMENT

High heat, water levels could bring busy mosquito season

Jun 6, 2024, 10:23 PM | Updated: 10:41 pm

KAYSVILLE — The near-record heat and high water levels from the snowpack could mean tons more mosquitos will bug Utahns across the state this summer.

Scott Fidel, with the Davis Mosquito Abatement District, said they are trying to get ahead of the problem with some new technology, including a huge drone.

“The other ones that we have pulled up to 40 pounds, this one can hold up to 110. So, more time in the air, more ground covered,” Fidel said.

Scott Fidel, a drone pilot for Davis Mosquito Abatement District. He is standing next to the district's new drone.

Fidel, a drone pilot for Davis Mosquito Abatement District. He is standing next to the district’s new drone. (Mike Anderson, KSL TV)

The district officials said they are going to need the drone, due to Utah having two major water years in a row. This means more wetlands are needed for mosquitos to grow in.

“A lot of water out of the wetlands. So we have done a tremendous amount of spraying,” said Gary Hatch, director of the Davis County Mosquito Abatement District.

Hatch said workers are trying to cover as much of those natural breeding grounds as possible. He said last May was their third busiest on record.

Meanwhile, the lab manager, Elizabeth Hart, is taking a close look at what types of larvae are out in the wetlands.

“By looking at the species, we can sort of see what’s coming,” Hart said.

Hart studying the larvae to see how they are developing.

Hart studying the larvae to see how they are developing. (Mike Anderson, KSL TV)

The district is predicting a worrisome summer season. According to Hatch, the heat is known to raise the number of mosquitoes that carry West Nile Virus. 

“We’re starting to see our West Nile, carrying mosquitoes. Their numbers are really starting to jump up,” Hatch said.

The district is preparing with its new tools to combat mosquitoes that are carrying the deadly virus.

“We’re spraying about five nights a week, throughout the county,” Hatch said.

Mosquito populations surge thanks to runoff and heat wave

He also said they have plenty of fish to place in your ornamental ponds to help combat the mosquito population.

“These are mosquito-eating fish. They feed on mosquito larvae,” he said.

However, Hatch said he is worried an early heatwave will likely make the battle against the types of mosquitos known to spread West Nile, a bit tougher.

“This early heat, will definitely get them moving faster. and so it makes it so that they go from a to adult in a lot quicker span of time,” he said.

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High heat, water levels could bring busy mosquito season