Prepare for higher population of mosquitoes this summer

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KSFY) - The wet spring we had is turning into a buggy summer. Mosquito populations will be higher than previous years for the city of Sioux Falls and across the area.

We know that mosquitoes need water to breed and this spring we had plenty of it.

There are more than 40 different species of mosquitoes in South Dakota, and the city of Sioux Falls is studying a dozen of them for the potential spread of West Nile. Right now, there are a few mosquitoes that have the virus, but there is nothing to worry about at this time.

Sioux Falls has more than 500 test sites for mosquitoes, and there are several factors they consider before spraying.

Sioux Falls Mosquito Control has been hard at work since early May, spraying areas that have larvae or eggs of the bug. Each sample they take can contain 500 eggs, so it can be difficult to stop the bug in its early stages.

Then the city looks at their trap counts and identifying down to the genus and species of mosquito. They try to identify if the mosquito is a potential health hazard, and when they hit that threshold, they begin spraying.

"That really is a reactive measure, we hope to get them in the water, but at some point, they are going to take wing and fly," Denise Patton, Sioux Falls Health Program coordinator, said. "And some of them can fly ten to fifteen miles in a day. So, once they're in the air, it's kind of a random thing, and we will get out to spray and hopefully knock down those adult populations and reduce that life cycle prevalence."

The city is unveiling a text alert system, similar to the snow removal alert system. All you have to do is text 888-777 with the word SPRAY to receive notifications when they are spraying in your area. If you have any other questions or concerns, be sure to call 605-367-8799.