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Rainy Days and Recession Breed Mosquitoes

July 28, 2009

PIERRE, S.D. - You may not care for the rain or the recession, but mosquitoes in South Dakota are loving it, and now experts are predicting they'll be coming on strong for the rest of the summer. Mosquitoes develop in water, and so the standing water in people's yards, from puddles to bird baths to kiddie pools, makes great incubators. Naturalist David Mizejewski with the National Wildlife Federation says that if you factor in, believe it or not, the recession, and this summer will be a mean season for mosquitoes.

"When you couple the conditions that mosquitoes thrive in with the fact that many municipalities are cutting back on their mosquito control efforts - yeah, we are predicting this summer to be a bad one."

Mizejewski says dumping any standing water in your yard is a first line of defense. Many municipalities are grappling with serious budget problems, and spraying for bugs is one of the items on the chopping block in many areas.

Mizejewski says products to protect yourself from mosquitoes run the gamut, from those containing the controversial chemical DEET to herbal remedies that work differently, but effectively.

"We leave a trail of water vapor and carbon dioxide through our skin and out of our breath and that's what mosquitoes are following, so a lot of these herbal products will actually mask that and keep the mosquitoes from being able to find you."

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, there were 39 cases of West Nile virus in South Dakota last year. If this summer is typical, cases of the mosquito-borne illness will start to show in the coming weeks.

Dick Layman, Public News Service - SD