AMES (AP) — The recent heavy rains and flooding in Iowa and Nebraska created prime breeding areas for mosquitoes, and an increase in the pests is likely in the next few weeks.
Experts say it’s not clear whether an increase in mosquitoes would lead to more cases of West Nile virus. The types of mosquitoes common now generally don’t carry diseases.
But many cities across the area will be working to minimize bug populations. Ames Parks and Recreation Director Keith Abraham said the city takes steps to control the mosquito population at Brookside Park.
and several other locations.
“Any time that there’s flood waters and standing water, there’s a potential increase in mosquito population,” Abraham said.
One kind of mosquito lays its eggs in the soil, so they will be ready to hatch after heavy rains or flooding. Experts say those mosquitoes generally don’t carry diseases.
The kind of mosquitoes that usually carry disease lay their eggs atop standing water, and they are more common later in the summer.
The Iowa Department of Public Health reported its first case this year of the mosquito-borne West Nile virus last week. An adult man, who lives in northwest Iowa’s Clay County is recovering from the virus.
Nebraska has not documented any human cases yet this year, but the numbers typically increase later in the summer.
“We think the risk is going to go up,” said Tom Safranek, Nebraska’s state epidemiologist.
Last year, Nebraska reported 226 cases of West Nile and five deaths linked to the virus. In Iowa, 44 human cases but no deaths were reported.
Using insect repellent and wearing long sleeves and pants can help reduce bug bites. Experts say it’s also good to avoid being outside at dusk when mosquitoes are most active.