Wet May brings high mosquito numbers

(James Gathany/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention via AP, File)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Near record setting rains combined with a very mild end of the winter season has boomed the mosquito population in central Indiana.

“We started a little bit early in March than we usually do, it was like you said a mild winter, and we did start seeing calls coming in, we started seeing mosquitoes show up a little bit earlier than normal, and once April hit, and then especially in May, it just exploded,” said Matt Sinsko, a coordinator at the Marion County Health Department Mosquito Control.

“Quite honestly we’ve seen record numbers of mosquitoes in our monitoring traps, so we have just seen huge numbers of mosquitoes, and I anticipate that will continue as we keep seeing rain in the forecast, so we’re probably going to continue to see high numbers of mosquitoes for the foreseeable future.”

And with the mosquito population on the rise, so does the risk of disease.

“Our biggest concern in Marion County is West Nile Virus. We usually don’t start seeing West Nile start picking up until later in the summer,” said Sinsko. “Right now the large amount of mosquitoes we’re seeing are not associated with that disease.  However, the mosquito we’re seeing now is a big vector for heartworm for your dog.  So if you have a dog, you might want to make sure they are on a heartworm regiment.”

While eliminating the mosquito population is not realistic, there are several measures that you can take to help prevent mosquito breeding in your own yard.

“The biggest thing homeowners can do is take five minutes, walk around their property, look for anything holding water,”  said Sinsko. “Things like rain gutters that are clogged, maybe leaves are still trapped from last fall that are causing water to accumulate in gutters. Things like a kiddie pool that maybe has been sitting out for a couple of weeks, will start breeding mosquitoes very quickly. Things like a saucer under a flower pot might hold water. Anything that holds water has that potential to breed mosquitoes. So homeowners can dump things that need dumped, maintain things like a swimming pool, or fix things that might be broken and holding water.”

Sinsko also reminds residents of Marion County that they do offer services including spraying, as well as stocking ponds and rain barrels with “mosquito fish,” for a more natural way to help knock down the mosquito population.  All of those services are free.

You can contact the Marion County Health Department Mosquito Control by phone at 317-221-7440.

Also, if you have old, unused tires that you want to get rid of, the department is hosting a recycling event on Saturday, June 17 at the Marion County Health Department Mosquito Control.

Unused tires are a well known breeding ground for mosquitoes.

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