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Aberdeen Crews Fight High Mosquito Numbers

July 10, 2014, 6:00 PM by Erich Schaffhauser

Aberdeen Crews Fight High Mosquito Numbers
ABERDEEN, SD -

Mosquito numbers are up in Aberdeen. In fact, they took a sharp increase this week, with traps catching thousands of them.

Specifically, the kind of mosquito that can carry the West Nile virus has increased in the Hub City. Forty percent of the mosquitoes the city is trapping could carry West Nile. That percentage was in the single digits last week.

As trapped mosquitoes come to the Mosquito Control office in Aberdeen, workers test them to see if any are carrying the West Nile virus. Those tests haven't returned any positive pools yet.

Still, Aberdeen Mosquito Control’s Mark Hoven wants people on guard.

"West Nile is in the state. We know that. We've had some positive cases so that means we could very well have West Nile mosquitoes. We may just not have trapped one yet," Hoven said.

With mosquito numbers very high this week, crews have sprayed citywide the last two nights in a row. They'll spray alleys Thursday, something they haven't done for a few years.  If needed, the city is prepared to take a more aggressive approach.

"We'll probably fly. We'll probably bring the airplane down if we can't get these numbers down to a level we feel comfortable with. We'll probably be doing an aerial over the city within the next couple of weeks," Hoven said.

Hoven says confirmed West Nile in Aberdeen, which hasn't happened yet, could trigger an aerial spray as well.

As they enjoy the outdoors, Vanessa Maina and her siblings wouldn't mind a break from the bugs.

"Sometimes we just wear long sleeved stuff.  When it's hot, we pull them up. Or when we go to the water park, we wear bug spray and sunscreen over there," Maina said.

City leaders are asking others to take those precautions. Brown County usually leads the state in West Nile cases. It wouldn't mind holding a lower rank this year.

There are a lot of nuisance mosquitoes in Aberdeen this year and officials say that could actually help in a way. They don't carry West Nile but they're still out biting people, causing more residents to wear bug spray.

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