INDIANAPOLIS — It seems like it’s been raining for most of the summer so far in fact FOX59 meteorologists say since June 1st (start of meteorological summer) Indianapolis has received 11.19” of rain… nearly 5” (4.98”) above average to-date for the season. Already up to 3.68” since July 1st… above normal to-date is 2.42” Last June was the 8th soggiest month on record for Indy (7.51”) tied with 2019…and while we may not like the rain… bugs, namely mosquitos do.
The Marion County Health Department’s Mosquito Control team says more rain equals more mosquitos.
“It’s a pretty simple equation, I mean typically the more rain you have, the more mosquitos you’re gonna have,” Marion County Mosquito Control Coordinator Matt Sinsko said. “Recently we’ve had more rain, some more heat and it’s certainly lead to an increase of mosquitos.”
Mosquito season in Central Indiana can begin as early as March if conditions are right, Sinsko says prior to the rainy summer start mosquitos were trending below average numbers but that’s quickly changed.
“They’ve emerged in the millions! And they do like to bite people,” Sinsko said. “But we’re prepared to deal with whatever Mother Nature throws our way.”
It’s important to remember that not all mosquitos are created equal; the Marion County Health Department’s Mosquito Control team primarily focuses its attention on three separate species:
“Most think a mosquito is a mosquito is a mosquito… but they’re not,” Sinsco said. “That’s why it’s important to take bites seriously because you don’t know necessarily which you’ve been bitten by and if you will be affected by that bite or not… and all it takes is one mosquito bite.”
Of particular concern to humans is the West Nile virus. It’s incredibly rare but can be fatal in even rarer circumstances. Which is why Sinsco urges Hoosiers to protect themselves.
“It’s really simple, you can use many different types of bug sprays if you know you’re going to be in a particularly mosquito prone area, or wear long sleeves to cover up your skin, I know that’s not popular I the summer, but it does keep them away,” Sinsko said. “The key for us though, is prevention.”
An increase of mosquitos also effects pet owners as the most common species found in the state can transmit Heartworm to dogs.
“We kind of just refer to that type as the “floodwater mosquito” and really that’s more of a nuisance biter,” Sinsco said. “It does also transmit Heartworm to dogs, so making sure your dog is on a heart worm regimen this summer is really important.”
Containing adult mosquitos once they’ve taken flight is much more difficult than tackling them in their larval stage in standing pools of water – especially common after heavy rainstorms.
“All they need is a tablespoon of water to reproduce,” Sinsko said. “The most important thing you can do is find standing water in your area and get rid of it, because the mosquitos that come from areas closest to you will be the ones biting you and your neighbors.”
Sinsko says West Nile has been found in Marion County, at least once, every year since 2001. There are no confirmed cases in the county, or the state for that matter, so far this year but that he expects to change soon.
“When we do find it, because we will, we concentrate a lot of our efforts. We’ll check standing water in a certain geographical area around that spot where we trapped those mosquitos, we’ll also send our trucks out to the area to knock down any adult mosquitos that might be actively transmitting that virus,” Sinsko said. “We are always testing mosquitos so we can react quickly when we find it.”
You can help the Marion County Health Department’s Mosquito Control team by calling 317.221.7440 if you have standing water you’d like treated, mosquitos you’d like sprayed or even Mosquito Fish for your pond.
“Yes, if you have an ornamental pond, we can put Mosquito Fish in your pond and they do a great job of eating larval mosquitos,” Sinsco said. “Our services are free to Marion County residents. If you’re just getting bites, we can send a truck through the area as well to knock some of them down; we’ve got over 40 years of history knowing where certain areas breed mosquitos and so we have our technicians go out and they will actually treat, inspect and treat that standing water for mosquitos in our county.”