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Mosquito Control Experts Already Combating West Nile

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(credit: CBS) John Lauritsen
John Lauritsen is a reporter from Montevideo, Minn. He joined WCCO-...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — In Minnesota, it’s well known that rabbits can’t even multiply at the rate of mosquitoes.

“I noticed earlier this year on one of the first nice days that we all went outside and we all got bit,” said Amy Hall of Minneapolis.

Getting bit now may not have the same implications as getting bit later this summer. That’s when mosquitoes that carry the West Nile virus are in full bloom, according to Mike McLean of the Metropolitan Mosquito Control District.

“For some reason, we’re not exactly sure what the reasons are, it’s kind of ramping back up again,” McLean said.

Between 2011 and 2012, the number of West Nile cases jumped dramatically from 2 to 70. Last year, it jumped to 79 cases with three deaths.

McLean says a wet spring sets the table for culex tarsalis, the mosquito that carries West Nile. Dry summers, like the ones we’ve had the past couple years, also help mosquitoes flourish.

“Later in the summer when everything dries out, mosquitoes and birds will start to congregate around shrinking pools of water, and then you really get that virus ramping up in the bird population,” McLean said. “And sometimes that can spill over into people.”

As the Metropolitan Mosquito Control District looks at numbers, they want homeowners to take a look at their own backyards and get rid of any standing water that’s accumulated this spring.

That means dumping out buckets and old tires. In the meantime, the MMCD will take to the air before most mosquitoes can, in hopes of treating problem areas. They’re doing their job in hopes that homeowners will do the same.

“Those become really perfect little mosquito factories, so think about that when you’re out in your yard and your garden cleaning things up,” McLean said.

The Metropolitan Mosquito Control District will pick up your old tires free of charge. Click here for for more information.

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