Mosquitoes causing issues for Douglas High School athletes |

Mosquitoes causing issues for Douglas High School athletes

2011 Douglas High graduate Troy Cohee warms up before the game on Thursday.
Brad Coman |

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Douglas County Mosquito Abatement cannot emphasize enough how important it is for people to take precautions against Mosquitos.

DCMAD is treating as much standing water as we can get to, and if we hear of a hatch in an area where we can adulticide we have. With the extremely hot temperatures, mosquitoes are breeding and hatching more quickly, and because of the heat, they seek cool areas such as lawns to hang out in. Property owners are urged to use products such as barrier sprays on their lawns and shrubbery to minimize mosquitoes hanging in their areas. We also urge people to use mosquito repellents on themselves and to rotate brands to maintain effectiveness. With WNV (West Nile Virus) active in Northern Nevada, it is imperative to protect yourself.”

A wet winter followed by hot summer weather has created a predictable result in Carson Valley — mosquitoes have been a big concern.

And athletes who compete outside are hardly immune.

Rick Smith, in his first year as head coach of the Douglas High School varsity girls soccer team and fourth year with the program overall, has never seen the mosquitoes so bad.

“I buy $50 to $100 worth of mosquito spray a week for my girls,” Smith said. “When we played the game on Tuesday, they were terrible.”

After Tuesday’s game on the Douglas soccer field, some McQueen players told Channel 4 News in Reno they were covered with mosquito bites.

“It’s all over the school. When we had the alumni game (July 18) on the football field, they were terrible,” Smith added. “And when we practiced on the softball day (on Wednesday), they were terrible. They attack different people different ways. The spraying works pretty good. It’s worse for some girls than others, so we spray multiple times.”

Krista Jenkins, district manager for the Douglas County Mosquito Abatement General Improvement District, noted that mosquitoes have been a challenge across the Valley, especially at school sites.

“The mosquitoes kind of move around at their own pace,” she said. “What draws them into an area like a playground or a school just happens to be the populations that are roaming around and I think there is a correlation to the wetness of the grass. They don’t breed in the grass, they lay and rest in the grass because it’s a cool, protected environment.”

Then again, this is what Jenkins said would happen during an interview in May.

“This year, with the phenomenal amounts of snow we got, the Valley’s going to be humming with water,” she told The Record-Courier. “It’s going to be a bad year; there’s no two ways about it. People are definitely going to have to wear their repellent.”

Jenkins, who grew up in the Valley, says these conditions are the worst she has seen over an extended period of time. The extreme summer heat has been a factor, she added.

“As a kid growing up, I don’t remember mosquitoes; I think as a kid you forget about it,” she said. “But as a professional in this job, and I’ve been here for 10 years, this is probably the worst year I’ve had for the duration of the heat that we’re dealing with. And it won’t relax — the hatches won’t start going down — until these temperatures and the temperature of the water come down.”

She explained that a total of 16 different species of mosquitoes have been identified in the Valley. Compounding the concerns, mosquito-transported West Nile Virus moved into the Valley around 2005. It was reported in August that a Douglas County resident contracted a serious version of the disease.

Shes went on to add that the extended heat has driven the amount and time of mosquito hatches.

“On an average summer, you could have a hatch happen every seven to 10 days,” she said. “We’ve had temperatures in the high 90s for this duration, and the temperatures in the evening are higher than normal. That drives the hatches to — and we’ve been following them — every three to four days we have a new hatch and it’s just flat-hard to keep up with these hatches.”

A snowstorm would be a welcome right now. Until then, however, Jenkins urges everyone to take proper precautions.

“The thing is, everybody has to help,” she said. “It’s a community effort. I know that my job is to kill mosquitoes, but I cannot kill every single one of them. People are responsible for taking care of themselves as far as protecting themselves from mosquitoes. If their repellent is not working, they need to switch brands and they need to apply it correctly. You’ve got to actually apply it to yourself regularly.”