Wet winter in Utah means more mosquitoes, greater risk of West Nile virus

Posted at 9:44 PM, May 11, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-12 09:41:18-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- After months of snow and heavy rain the weather has finally calmed down, leaving a lot of standing water all across northern Utah.

And that means mosquito season will be biting us hard with the possibility of more West Nile virus cases than we've seen in years.

Mosquitoes are taking a big bite out of the start of the season. Utah abatement crews say they're seeing double the amount of the pesky bugs for this time of year.

“It's been an incredibly wet year, we're finding the mosquitoes in a lot of habitats we haven't seen them in for years,” said Gary Hatch, Manager for the Mosquito Abatement Davis District.

That's thanks to our wet winter, which left standing water all over.

“In the marshes where the water usually floods out, we’ve seen a lot of water," Hatch said. "It's holding much more water than we have seen in probably 10-15 years."

Making the perfect breeding ground for these airborne annoyances.

“They can fly 5 miles and 10 miles, some fly 25 miles," Hatch said. "They don't have far to go until they get to the subdivisions."

To keep them out of your backyard, crews are working around the clock by spraying mosquito larva and dumping fish in ponds across Davis County. They are also checking traps every night, which are filling up.

Crews are seeing the two types of mosquitoes that can carry West Nile virus.

“Their populations are definitely going to build higher and higher,” Hatch said. “We could have a very active virus year.”

Crews will start testing for West Nile in June, but states like California and Arizona are already seeing cases, so it's likely we could see cases soon. Experts remind everyone to remove any standing water from around their home to limit their exposure to mosquitoes.