Why recent heavy rainfall helped control mosquito population

Source: MGN Online
Source: MGN Online

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - Last year, West Nile Virus struck the nation hard, with more than 500,000 cases and nearly 300 deaths. This year, with such soggy conditions, you may be wondering whether we can expect something similar.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention only reported 23 cases and three deaths resulting from West Nile Virus so far in 2013. Something to keep in mind, though, is that most cases occur during July, peaking in August and early September.

So far this year, most areas in the Tennessee Valley are running about ten inches of rain above average, with over half a foot of that fairly recently. Mosquitoes only need a half inch of water in order to breed.

Research shows that several days of heavy rainfall can actually keep mosquito larvae flushed out of holes, ditches and manmade containers where they are most likely to grow. Heavy rain becomes a problem when it is left stagnant in puddles: some common areas are abandoned kiddie pools, flower pots, wheelbarrows and old tires.

The breeding cycle of mosquitoes is generally about one to two weeks, so you will need to eliminate or treat any standing water at least every two weeks throughout the summer.

If you notice any severe mosquito population around your neighborhood, you are urged to contact your area's commission office, who can arrange a spraying.

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