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Official: Mosquito numbers down from last year in county

Aug 10, 2012 - By Emily Etheredge, Staff Writer

Weed and pest supervisor urges people to take precautions when going outside.

Fremont County weed and pest supervisor Lars Baker said mosquito numbers are down considerably from last year in Fremont County.

"In 2011, there were about 4,000 mosquitoes being caught in the traps," Baker said. "This year we are seeing about100 in the traps each time we trap."

Although the numbers are down, Baker said he wants to caution everyone that mosquitos are still out and about.

"Precautions should be taken when going outside because the mosquitoes have not disappeared," Baker said. "We are seeing a higher number of Culex tarsalis mosquitoes, which are the ones that transmit West Nile virus."

Baker said the Culex tarsalis mosquitoes are surviving quite well under the extreme drought conditions and are most active between 8 p.m. and 1 a.m.

"This is usually the time when people are off of work and spending time outside," Baker said. "Just because you can't see the mosquitoes does not mean they are not around."

Baker said the Culex tarsalis mosquitoes are sneaky biters so people don't pay attention to them.

"I think since people aren't seeing many mosquitoes outside they are exposing themselves to the chance of being bitten by not protecting themselves with proper attire or insect repellent," Baker said.

Tips to avoid being bitten

Baker said the best way to prevent being bitten by mosquitoes is to wear insect repellent and limit time outside from dusk to dawn.

"You can take the repellent, rub some together in your hands, and put it in your hair, on your shirt collar, on your neck, even the outside of your clothes," Baker said. "I go around a lot of places where I see windows and doors standing wide open without a screen to protect them from letting mosquitoes inside. It really amazes me that Fremont County doesn't have more West Nile virus cases."

Baker said Permethrin, a common synthetic chemical widely used as an insect repellent, is a good way to rid the mosquitoes quickly because one drop will kill them immediately.

"It is a powerful insect repellent available at most lawn and garden centers," Baker said. "It comes in a garden hose form where you can spray your plants and clothes, really creating a bubble of protection while you spend time outside."

Symptoms

Baker said 80 percent of people who contract the West Nile virus never know they have it.

"Four out of five people develop flu-like symptoms with a headache, muscle ache, just an overall crummy feeling," Baker said. "As far as diseases go, West Nile virus is probably not the worst disease on the planet but definitely something to watch out for."

There have been no cases of people contracting the virus in Wyoming this year.

"I think one of the reasons we haven't seen as many mosquitoes this year is due to the fact water is scarce in Fremont County," Baker said.

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