Mild Mosquito Season

We still have two mosquito months to go, but Madison Public Health Department officials say they've seen a dramatic drop in the number of mosquitoes compared to last year, giving some relief to those who love the outdoors.

"There are no bugs this year," says Cubby Wolfe as he sits watching a summer league baseball game, "Last year I went through more mosquito repellent than I went through drinking pop and refreshments."

Coach Ron Jerzewski agrees, "It's like night and day. I have not gotten a mosquito bite this year."

If you've seen a Coleman cooler hanging from a tree, you're not crazy. Seven mosquito trappers are running around Madison. Last year, they trapped 6240 mosquitoes from June-September. So far this year: fewer than 100.

"We were trapping hundreds of mosquitoes a trap night last year," says John Hausbeck of the Madison Department of Public Health, "This year we're trapping a few to a half a dozen a trap night, so the difference is night and day."

The reason: the dry weather keeps mosquitoes from hatching.

But UW experts warn that doesn't mean you should pack away your insect repellent, yet.

"West Nile can be transmitted by quite a lot of different kinds of mosquitoes, it's not really one species, it's a whole battery of different kinds of things," says UW Entomology Professor Susan Paskewitz, "So some of those I expect could be abundant toward the end of the summer."

That all depends on the amount of rainfall: a sticky point for spectators.

"I'll take the rain and put up with the mosquitoes," says Wolfe.

But Jerzewski says, "I want no rain, it doesn't bother me. The grass is brown but so be it."

At least there aren't mosquitoes? "That's right," he says as he shakes his head with a grin.

To help officials monitor West Nile Virus activity in the area, remember to call the West Nile Virus Hotline at 1-800-433-1610 if you see a sick or dead crow or blue jay.

Last year there were 12 human cases of the disease and 2 deaths, although both of those went along with other medical issues.

This year no human cases have been reported.

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