Staying ahead of mosquito season

MADISON, Wis (WMTV) - With May comes the start of mosquito season, but experts said the severity is hard to predict. However, there are ways to stay ahead and prepare.

The environmental supervisor for Public Health Madison Dane Co., John Hausbeck, said projecting mosquitos is difficult and risky, because the chances of being wrong are high.

Between summer’s severe flooding and the winter’s polar vortex, Hausbeck said it is hard to say how bad the bugs will be.

“Last fall we had lots of rain, lots of flooding, and that might actually help our season this year. If it hatched out a bunch of mosquito eggs that are no longer there for hatching this year,” he said.

He said public health’s priority is preventing the spread of diseases.
“We focus on treating areas with a pesticide that we apply to the water that kills the mosquito larvae, only when we find a high number of mosquitos that are specifically carrying West Nile virus,” Hausbeck said.

Local pest control businesses said they are already fielding calls in anticipation of the season.

“We are starting to get our calls in and we are getting out there and spraying already,” said the owner of Mosquito Joe of Madison, Kate Reithel.

Reithel said their focus now is to zap potential breeding areas and eggs before they hatch.

The Vice President of Kwik Kill Pest Control, Ryan Neerland, said last season was one of the worst they have seen, and they are anticipating it to be just as bad this year.

Both Reithel and Neerland recommended getting rid of any standing water, such as water accumulated in the gutter and flower pots.

“Any stagnant water will provide breeding sites for mosquitos,” Neerland said.

Hausbeck said preventing the spread of diseases starts at your home, and the best thing you can do is protect yourselves from bites.

“People really can have a serious impact on reducing the risk by making sure their properties don’t have standing water,” he said.

The CDC has a list of mosquito repellent products out there. Hausbeck said to help their department track West Nile trends and cases, report any dead birds, particularly crows or blue jays, here