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Fewer Mosquitoes, Bigger Impact

July 20, 2012, 7:46 AM by Lindsey Branwall

Fewer Mosquitoes, Bigger Impact

When it comes to mosquitoes, you may not have felt much of a bite this year.  But that doesn't mean you're in the clear. The good news is Sioux Falls Vector Control is seeing fewer mosquitoes in its traps.  But what they're finding has the potential to be dangerous.

Every day, the Sioux Falls Vector Control division checks for mosquitoes in traps they've set up around the city.  They bring daily collections back to their lab.

When they're in a controlled environment, mosquitoes are checked for gender and species.  And this year's crop has been out of the ordinary

"This year we've certainly been seeing fewer mosquitoes because it's been so hot and dry,” Health Program Coordinator Denise Patton said.

There are less of the Aedes Vexan species, those pesky mosquitoes that bite. Ninety to 95 percent of mosquitoes collected have been the Culex species, those most likely to carry the West Nile virus.

One of the traps in the city with the most activity sits at the northeastern part of town. It sees so many because it's a meeting ground for rural and urban areas

“There is water in this area as well as blood meals handy, dogs or cows or horses in the area,” Mosquito Control Field Technician Richard Burguard said.

That adds up to make this area one that's been sprayed multiple times this year for its Culex numbers.

"Culex mosquitoes don't come in swarms; they come one or two at a time,” Patton said.

And you may not even feel their bite.  But the state numbers have felt their impact. Seven pools across South Dakota have tested positive for West Nile Virus. The pools of mosquitoes in the state that have tested positive for West Nile have been in Brookings, Pierre and Aberdeen.  But so far, there's only one case of a person having the virus in the state.

"We just don't want people to get complacent and think that there isn't mosquito activity out there or that there isn't risk because they aren't getting bitten as often,” Patton said.

The most important thing to remember with this season's mosquitoes is to watch the bite, even if it comes without the bark.

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