With conditions just right to boost numbers, officials say it's been a good year to be a mosquito in Mesa County. But mosquito control crews say their hard work is paying off and they're winning the war against the pests.
Thursday, employees of the Grand River Mosquito Control District were looking for mosquito larvae at Connected Lakes State Park. Much to their delight, they did not find a whole lot.
"This time of year is a good time for us," said Zane McCallister, Manager of the Grand River Mosquito Control District. "We're on top of things."
But that wasn't the case just a few months ago.
"We had mosquitoes on the wing, all day, everyday," said McCallister.
McCallister says the cooler and more humid start to the summer allowed mosquitoes to spread further than they usually do, giving them more places to breed and more time to feed.
"This year people were out in their yards in the middle of the day getting hit by mosquitoes," said McCallister.
That's why a team of ten full-time employees have been out every day, testing and spraying mosquito breeding grounds from Fruita to Palisade.
"Our employees go out and treat those sites on a regular basis to make sure we don't have another infestation like we did this spring," said McCallister.
Their mission -- wipe out mosquito larva using an eco-friendly bacteria spray.
"When they're in juvenile form, then it's really easy to figure out where mosquitoes are going to be and when they're going to be there," said McCallister.
It's a mission he says they're achieving.
"We've taken control in some areas where in the past we let things slide," said McCallister.
But officials say even though numbers are down, we're not in the clear yet -- and it's still important to take the necessary steps to protect yourself from mosquitoes.
"Wear your deet, wear your long-sleeved shirts and pants during peak mosquito times," said McCallister.
Officials say no mosquitoes or people in the Grand Valley have tested positive for West Nile virus this year. However, they say the type of mosquito historically known to spread it is the most prevalent species in our area this time of year.
The Grand River Mosquito Control District also drops pesticides using airplanes to kill groups of adult mosquitoes. Officials say they've made two such drops this year.