Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Latest Bzzzzzz Mosquito Experts Expect This Year's Crop of Biting Insects to Be Worse Than Usual

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Latest Bzzzzzz Mosquito Experts Expect This Year's Crop of Biting Insects to Be Worse Than Usual

Article excerpt

Summer has arrived, and so has summer's plague - mosquitoes.

Area mosquito experts expect this year's crop to be worse than normal because of the warm weather this winter, heavy rainfall this spring and the pockets of floodwater that remain. Even if the infestation turns out to be only "normal," it will probably seem worse because last year's crop was relatively small, thanks to the flood of 1993. That record flooding wiped out many of the best places for laying eggs, and those mud and silt havens started to come back only last year. Federal experts on insects warned St. Charles County after the 1993 flood that the mosquito population would rebound hard in two years.

"This is the worst year I can remember," says Karen Craven, one of the several dozen people to complain to the county so far about mosquitoes. Her three small children love to play on their two-acre lot on Fox Drive, south of St. Peters, but "it seems at about 3:30 we have to start putting bug spray on or go inside, and by evening we don't go out at all," she said.

But help is on the way. The county government is embarking on a pilot program to kill mosquitoes. In addition, various municipalities spray chemicals or drop chemical pellets on standing water to kill the larvae, or eggs, and also "fog" neighborhoods where the adult mosquitoes are a particular nuisance.

St. Peters has also enlisted the help of bats and purple martins, both of which love to lap up mosquitoes. Working with local Scouts, the city installed about 24 bat houses and six purple-martin houses in 1993 and 1994 in city parks and on other city property.

"Anytime we can use nature to our benefit, we need to do that," said Ron Darling, head of the department of environmental and leisure services.

"But I can't quantify the benefits," he acknowledged. He is hoping that other Eagle Scouts may want to take on that task. If they find that the houses are attracting bats and birds and that those animals are cutting down on the mosquito population, he might encourage another round of building bat and bird houses next year.

In the meantime, the city will continue with its chemical programs. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.