Utah mosquito numbers are low, but threat of West Nile still high

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – After a particularly heavy winter and soggy spring, many expect to battle masses of mosquito during these summer months.

While one of Utah’s biggest nuisances really bites for a few Wasatch Front communities, overall we’ve seen a below-average bug year when it comes to the mosquito.

“Compare this year and last year, we are a bit less, but still some. In the evenings, as soon as dusk comes, you see mosquitoes,” Shirley Orozco of Saratoga Springs said Monday.

Mosquito abatement crews throughout the state expected inundation of insects and pulled extra resources heading into the summer months.

“We hired additional personnel, seasonal employees, we ordered additional pesticide, we had extra equipment ready to go,” Jason Hardman, the Operations Manager of Salt Lake City Mosquito Abatement, said.

The extra resources though have not been necessary thanks to our weather pattern. The late arrival of the monsoon has limited standing water, and our temperatures this summer have been key in the fight against the bite.

“Since temperatures have gotten into the high 90s and 100s, most of the water has really evaporated off and soaked into the ground. And we haven’t seen the mosquito numbers we were anticipating,” Hardman said.

Mosquitos are attracted to light, heat and carbon dioxide, so even during a below-average year prevention is still necessary. Crews will continue to treat gutters and ponds as well as spray from trucks, ATVs and the air. While there are fewer insects, the threat of West Nile Virus is still high. Mosquitos have tested positive in many Utah counties including Salt Lake, Weber, Davis, Uintah, and Grand.

“West Nile can be very prevalent throughout the city and in the rural areas, so you still need to protect yourself,” Hardman said.

No human cases of West Nile have been reported in Utah in 2019. There are still mosquito prone areas along the Wasatch Front, and those spots typically are near large bodies of water or receive an abundance of irrigation.

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