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Aberdeen Fights Back Against Mosquitoes

July 16, 2009, 6:10 PM by Erich Schaffhauser

Aberdeen Fights Back Against Mosquitoes
South Dakota has its second confirmed case of West Nile Virus in a person from Charles Mix County.

Brown County has historically led the state in cases but hasn't had a single one this year. Still, Aberdeen isn't backing down in its battle against the bug.

Whether they're passing through town or live here, people in Aberdeen have been surrounded by more mosquitoes this year than in a long time.

"In the last four years, this is probably our strongest year we've had for mosquito population in our area," parks superintendent Mark Hoven said.

The city has traps set up around town to monitor mosquito numbers. Hoven likes to see the counts at a hundred or fewer per trap. But at the end of June, the average was around 2,700. They've also seen an increasing number of mosquitoes that can carry West Nile.

"It was a slow start to the season. But it has sure caught up," Hoven said.

To combat the problem, the city has sprayed by land and air. The counts are back down now but mosquito control isn't backing down yet.

"We're probably in the middle of the battle right now. We tell our crews that we've got another two months of mosquito control here ahead of us," Hoven said.

If the weather dries up, the mosquito population might slow down. But if rains continue, Hoven doesn't see that happening as the city sprays and more mosquitoes make their way in.

"We need to kind of protect those areas coming in because those mosquitoes will migrate into the city. So, it's an ongoing battle," Hoven said.

Aberdeen will typically spend between $225,000 to $250,000 a year to spray mosquitoes. This year, that could be closer to $300,000.

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