Mosquito population soaring

CARLISLE, Pa. (WHTM) – Have you noticed more mosquitoes biting this summer?

If you are anything like Bridget Malinoski, mosquitoes are driving you buggy.

“We’re like, ‘oh, let’s go fishing.’ We’ll go to dinner then go fishing,” Malinoski said.

Within 20 minutes she had more than 50 mosquito bites.

“We were just like, ‘OK, we’re done,'” Malinoski said. “We can’t stand out here any longer because it was miserable.”

Mother Nature is to blame.

“The problem with flood waters are – they do dry up – but this year just as soon as they’re dry and go away, we get another storm, we get flooding again, and the mosquitoes reproduce in no time,” said John Bitner, Cumberland County Vector Control Chief. “We’re getting at least double and sometimes three times the amount of adult mosquitoes in a single trap than we were getting last year. So, it’s pretty significant. You can tell the constant rain is making a big difference.”

Most mosquitoes are just a nuisance, but some carry West Nile virus. In our area this year, the virus has been found in Adams, Lancaster and York counties, but not yet in Cumberland County.

“There is always a chance it will arrive in the area,” said Katie Seymore, West Nile technician with Cumberland County Vector Control. “It’s in the surrounding counties. It just has not presented in our county.”

The mosquitoes that carry West Nile are not out during the day. They are active around dusk and dawn and can be found near dirty, standing water.

The symptoms of West Nile virus are very similar to the flu.

Cumberland County Vector Control sets 30 traps a week to test for West Nile. They also do what they can to fight against mosquitoes. That includes treating ponds and spraying the air.

You can take steps to protect yourself and your family. For example, make sure you do not have standing water in your yard.

“It could be my kids little five-gallon sand bucket. It could be my spouting that’s clogged up and backed up and has water in it,” Bitner said.

If you have a retention pond or something you cannot get rid of, use a mosquito dunk. You can find it at most home and garden centers.

If you are hanging out outside, Malinoski has some advice.

“Make sure you have your bug spray,” Malinoski said.

You can also wear long sleeves and pants, and keep your distance from water, to protect yourself.

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