FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Mosquito numbers are on the rise across northeast Indiana and northwest Ohio. The recent rainfall of the past two weeks is to blame for the higher populations.

David Fiess, Director of Environmental Services for the Allen County Department of Health, says that floodwater, nuisance mosquitos are high right now, as they tend to thrive a week or so after a heavy rainfall event. They are flying in swarms and attacking people, as they seek out humans for blood; females need blood to make their eggs. The good news is these mosquitos are not disease-carrying and will only be around for a few weeks if we enter into a more dry stretch.

However, conditions are also prime for the emergence of disease-carrying mosquitos. These mosquitos are most active from July to September. They are more silent, are active from dusk to dawn, and can carry the West Nile Virus. They normally bite birds and occasionally humans. They like to breed in little pools of stagnant water, as there is high organic matter in the water. These mosquitos thrive as it gets hotter out and when it’s dry for a longer stretch after a rain.

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Fiess says around 85% of people bitten by a mosquito carrying the West Nile Virus experience no symptoms. Fifteen percent experience some symptoms, such as a fever. Only one percent experience severe symptoms, such as paralysis, coma, or death. Ages 50 and over are most impacted by the virus. If you think you may have contracted West Nile, contact a physician to get tested.

The outlook for each type for the rest of the summer really depends on the weather. A heavy rain will increase floodwater, nuisance mosquitos and reduce the number of disease-carrying mosquitos. A light rain followed by a dry stretch is more favorable for disease-carrying mosquito breeding rather than off and on rain.

Fiess says the county has not sprayed from their trucks for the West Nile Virus since 2011. This is because property tax caps has limited their resources. Instead, their mosquito program treats the mosquito larvae in pools of water before they hatch and fly around. Dumping out a bucket with 1,000 larvae is more effective than spraying, according to Fiess.

The county’s mosquito program is not geared toward nuisance mosquitos, but you can contact a state licensed pest control operator to control the swarms of nuisance mosquitos you may be dealing with.

Fiess says the county treats 300 known permanent breeding sites for disease-carrying mosquitos. They use environmentally friendly treatments. The county also tracks larvae found in water and do trap adult female mosquitos to test for the West Nile Virus. They will then go to the water where those mosquitos came from and treat it.

Spraying for mosquitos from trucks is now reserved for more serious future concerns, like the chance Eastern Equine Encephalitis is carried by a mosquito into our area, where there’s a 30% mortality rate for this disease.

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Always remember to wear bug repellent and remove any area with standing water. A mosquito only needs a quarter of an inch depth of water to complete its lifecycle; that could be as small as a bottle cap.

You can call 260-449-7459 to treat pools of water with breeding disease-carrying mosquitos. A technician can check the water and treat it if mosquitos are breeding. You can find out more here.