As if the prolonged heat wave hasn't spoiled many summer activities, brace yourself for mosquito season. Local officials agree mosquito problems have been mild so far this summer, but an upswing is expected.
Exacerbating concerns is standing water created by some area flooding. David Stull, Cole County environmental public health specialist, said receding water levels create conditions for "floodwater mosquitos." The phenomenon occurs when mosquitos lay eggs that do not hatch until the next flood. Although they tend to be more aggressive than their seasonal peers, they are unlikely to carry West Nile virus.
The virus - a threat both to humans and some livestock - has not been reported yet in Central Missouri, but has been identified elsewhere in the state.
Jefferson City operates "fogger trucks" to spray for mosquitos, but does so only on a complaint basis. In addition, city staff tests stagnant water and applies larvicide when mosquito eggs are found.
Wholesale spraying, however, is not the preferred method of dealing with mosquitos.
Instead, prevention is emphasized, including recommendations to:
• Eliminate standing water on property.
• Change water in wading pools and birdbaths weekly.
• Stock ornamental ponds with fish that eat mosquito larvae. - Avoid areas where mosquitos are prevalent and times - particularly dawn and dusk - when they are most active.
• Apply DEET-based insect repellents to avoid being bitten. Mosquitos not only are a nuisance, they are a public health hazard. Everyone has a role to play in minimizing this pesky problem.