Record rainfall in Phoenix area creates breeding grounds for mosquitoes
PHOENIX — The wettest October in Phoenix history has created a warm and moist living environment for those annoying bugs who love to bite.
Maricopa County Environmental Services Department has reported an influx of mosquitoes in their traps.
“Just last week I learned one mosquito trap came to us from the Southeast Valley with over 21,000 mosquitoes,” department spokesman Johnny Diloné said Monday.
Most of the bugs in the county’s traps are floodwater mosquitoes, meaning they do not carry diseases.
That doesn’t mean there’s no threat of West Nile virus or other mosquito-borne diseases.
“So far this year, 123 of the mosquito traps that we collect have tested positive for West Nile and 100 have tested positive for St. Louis encephalitis,” Diloné said.
The Arizona Department of Health Services has reported 19 confirmed or probable human cases of West Nile infections this year, all but two in Maricopa County.
However, a mosquito bite is no reason to panic.
“Most cases that test positive for West Nile don’t necessarily experience any symptoms,” Diloné said. “Just a very small number of individuals may experience minor symptoms like headaches, body rashes, and flu-like symptoms.”
The best way to reduce contact with mosquitoes is to clean up after a heavy rain.
Diloné recommended that homeowners dump out trash bins, pots, barrels, buckets and things such as tires that can hold the stagnant water that mosquitoes need to thrive.
He said the warmer weather makes it easier for mosquitoes to live, so even if it is a wet winter the pesty bugs should be gone once the temperatures drop.
For more information about dealing mosquitoes or if you would like a trap placed in your neighborhood or workplace, contact the Maricopa County Environmental Services Department at 602-506-0700 or by visiting the county’s Fight the Bite webpage.