Carson Valley will be buzzing | RecordCourier.com

Carson Valley will be buzzing

by Amy Alonzo
aalonzo@recordcourier.com

Krista Jenkins, district manager for the Douglas County Mosquito Abatement General Improvement District, doesn't mince words about what this year's mosquito forecast looks like.

"It's going to be a bad year; there's no two ways about it," she said. "People are definitely going to have to wear their repellent."

Over the years a total of 16 different species of mosquitoes have been identified in the Valley. Mosquito-transported West Nile Virus moved into the Valley around 2005. Last year three people contracted the disease, she said.

The GID starts monitoring and treating the Valley's mosquitoes in early spring. During droughts — such as recent years — the season could start earlier, but with this year's overabundance of moisture, the season is starting later, she said.

Potential spring flooding will add to this year's mosquito count, Jenkins said. Mosquito eggs require water to hatch. If an area dries up, eggs can lay dormant for five to 10 years until water again reaches the area where the larvae are. With this spring's projected flooding, normally dormant breeding sites could become active.

"This year, with the phenomenal amounts of snow we got, the Valley's going to be humming with water," Jenkins said.

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However, there are some proactive measures Valley residents can take to mitigate the number of mosquitoes on their property, Jenkins said. Those include:

Check for irrigation leaks;

Drain standing water, such as horse troughs and birdbaths;

Clean up vegetation and keep grass and weeds mowed; and

Do a barrier spray around property lines.

In addition, residents who have ponds on their properties can stock their water with mosquitofish. Mosquitofish are known for eating large amounts of the pesky insect's larvae.

Jenkins used to stock a local water source with mosquitofish, but the site dried up during the past few drought years.

Last year a Douglas High School student who works seasonally with Jenkins suggested the high school's FFA students raise the fish. Jenkins followed up on the idea, and this spring, students in Robin Futch's FFA classes plan to raise mosquitofish in a 300-gallon tank.

"We're always looking for ways to partner with the community and offer a benefit for the community members," Futch said. "It's a learning experience for my students because it's totally experimental … We're pretty excited about it."

The fish get to about 2 inches in length and breed rapidly, Jenkins said. Homeowners looking to stock their ponds with mosquitofish can contact Futch at 661-510-4555.

Mosquito season usually lasts until around the end of November, or whenever two or three hard freezes hit the Valley.

"It's all temperature-driven," Jenkins said.

For more information, visit dcmosquito.org.

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