Buzz around town: Beware, the mosquito bite is on

The bugs are back in town.

With overnight low temperatures climbing into the 50s, Northern Colorado residents might have noticed a new mosquito bite — or three — over the past week.

Folks better get used to it when they venture outside, especially in the morning and evening, as the area enters the start of mosquito season.

“We saw a huge surge in trap counts from last week to this week,” said Broox Boze, operations manager for Vector Disease Control International, formerly Colorado Mosquito Control, the business that handles spraying and mosquito-trapping for cities and counties in Northern Colorado.

Mosquitoes are more than just an annoyance in Larimer County, which consistently ranks among the top 10 counties in the nation for West Nile virus infection. Larimer County saw 32 confirmed human cases of West Nile virus last year, the most in the state. Weld County had the second-highest tally with 27 cases.

There have been no confirmed human cases of West Nile virus in Larimer County this year as of Wednesday, said Katie O’Donnell, county health department spokeswoman.

The good news is that a lot of mosquitoes doesn’t necessarily translate to a lot of West Nile virus infections, Boze said.

Vector Disease Control started trapping mosquitoes this year during the first full week of June. Staff set roughly one trap per square mile around sunset, and then return to collect trapped mosquitoes the next day.

Once identified in a lab, mosquitoes capable of carrying West Nile virus are sent to a Fort Collins lab for testing.

About 3 to 4 percent of the collected mosquitoes are culex mosquitoes, the species capable of carrying West Nile virus, Boze said.

“Abundance is really high this week, but the disease risk is still very low,” she said.

That’s because many of the mosquitoes buzzing around Larimer County presently are “floodwater mosquitoes” that come from eggs laid along the high-water line of rivers, like the Poudre. As the water recedes, it creates riverside pockets that are perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes, Boze said.

Read more at the Coloradoan.

Copyright 2017 Coloradoan

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