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Monsoon storms in Arizona means mosquitoes are coming

(AP Photo/Felipe Dana, File)

PHOENIX — Those pesky mosquitoes will soon be buzzing around the Valley thanks to recent monsoon rains.

“Right now it’s a perfect time for mosquitoes to breed,” said Johnny Dilone, spokesman for the Maricopa County Environmental Services Department.

He said mosquitoes need three things to breed: Rain, stagnant water and warm temperatures. He said even a bottle cap full of water can be enough to create a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

“That’s why it’s important to go around our property to make sure that we don’t have stagnant water – that we don’t have any containers that may be collecting water,” Dilone said.

Mosquito eggs can take about three to four days to hatch in standing water. Potted plants, a pet’s water bowl and buckets are examples of items that may collect water during a monsoon storm and become a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

The Maricopa County Environmental Services Department is taking steps to monitor and minimize the risks of mosquito-borne disease, especially now that the monsoon season is picking up.

It has nearly 800 mosquito traps set up across Maricopa County in areas that have been identified as problem areas or mosquito-breeding sites.

“What we try to do is be ahead of the game and prevent mosquito breeding,” Dilone said.

The department also tests mosquitoes for diseases, including the West Nile Virus and St. Louis Encephalitis.

While Arizona mosquitoes have not tested positive for the Zika virus, there have been cases of people from Arizona who travel to Zika-affected areas and are infected with the virus.

Dilone said the majority of people who are bitten by an infected mosquito may experience symptoms similar to the flu, including body aches, headaches, and rashes. He said people should contact their medical providers if they experience these and other more serious symptoms.

He added people can also protect themselves from mosquitoes by applying mosquito repellant and wearing long sleeved shirts and pants.

To report a mosquito-related problem, contact the Maricopa County Environmental Services Department or submit a complaint.

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