Time to think about pulling out the bug spray because this year, mosquitoes could be even more of an issue for Western Colorado residents. With hundreds of miles of canals and irrigation ditches flowing through the grand valley, mosquitoes are a problem every year.
But with the record amounts of rain fall over the past few weeks, they now have the perfect environment to flourish.
"They don't breed in fast moving water, they need standing water to breed in," says Steven Defeyter, director of Environmental health. Most of the standing water is in places that are usually dry, and it doesn't,t take very much to get the job done. Steven says, "they can breed in a bottle cap, that's all the water they need."
Mosquitoes can carry the West Nile Virus, which for some can be deadly. In 2004, Mesa County led the nation with 127 confirmed cases of West Nile and 4 deaths. But it's not only West Nile we have to worry about. "Dog heart worms are a concern and they need to be tested," says Defeyter. Mosquitoes track their meals by sensing carbon dioxide emissions and they can be a real pest during outdoor activities.
Females can travel miles to get blood meals and you can help in the fight. "If possible, eliminate those breeding grounds for mosquitoes," says Defeyer. At least once a week you should dump flower pots, bird baths and any item that can hold water for more than seven days. If you have standing water in your yard, try to drain it, but if not your local hardware store has a safe alternative. "Mosquito Dunks, we sell a lot of them for use indoors outdoors any place you have standing water," says Carrie McFarland, manager of Co-Op/Ace hardware in Fruita. The treatment is very easy to use and lasts for thirty days. Just drop the tablet in any standing water, and the best part, it's safe for the environment, kids and pets.
With the days starting to heat back up again the higher temperatures accelerate the growth process. A quick and easy treatment can help prevent a repeat of 2004.