SALT LAKE CITY, Utah(News4Utah) Summer is here, which means most of us are spending more time outdoors. It also means, it’s mosquito season. Dr. Gregory White, Assistant Director with the Salt Lake City Mosquito Abatement District, joined Emily Clark, to talk about how to keep them at bay.
Dr. White says we are starting to see a shift in the mosquito population, from mosquitoes that are mostly just a nuisance, to mosquitoes that can also transmit viruses like West Nile. He says they haven’t detected any West Nile virus in mosquitoes yet, but they do often start to see West Nile virus appear around the 4th of July.
Salt Lake City Mosquito Control District monitors mosquito populations through a series of traps placed in urban and rural areas. They have many different teams doing different jobs to control mosquitoes:
- The ATV team: inspects and treats rural wetland areas around the Great Salt Lake, Airport, new prison site.
- Bike team: rides bicycles through the city, treating standing water in catch basins, storm drains, gutters.
- The Tree Hole team: inspects and treats over 3,000 holes in trees within Salt Lake City that they have mapped out for a mosquito who likes to lay its eggs in these spots.
- Fish team: raises fish that eat mosquito larvae, and brings them to residents that have water features, like ornamental ponds, to eat their mosquito larvae at no cost.
- Surveillance team – sets traps throughout the city looking for areas where mosquitoes are highest, and where viruses are being transmitted.
Dr. White says only female mosquitoes bite, because they need the blood to make eggs. There are about 50 mosquito species in Utah, with nearly 16 species in Salt Lake City.
Ways to prevent mosquito bites
- Avoid dusk and dawn
- Wear long sleeves
- Wear a mosquito repellent with DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR 3535 (only need about 30% active ingredient for effective protection)
- Get rid of standing water around your house
- Dump out containers that hold water at least once a week
- Make sure screens on doors and windows are in good shape
For more information on this and other safety and health concerns, visit SLCO.org/Health.