Mosquitoes are worse this year than last, but it’s no 2019

Mosquitoes are worse this year than last, but it’s no 2019

From Downtown Albuquerque News

If it seems like you’ve been swatting at more mosquitoes this year than usual, that’s because you probably have.

Mosquito counts have officially surpassed last year’s numbers, but they’re not nearly as high as they were in 2019, according to data provided by the city’s Environmental Health Department.

Through mid-August, the city’s network of traps in the bosque had snared 52,527 mosquitoes. Last year during the same period, that count was 34,740. In 2019, however, 113,805 mosquitoes were collected (DAN, 9/5/19).

“Increased monsoon activity this year has resulted in an increase in mosquito activity,” city spokeswoman Maia Rodriguez said. “It’s not that this year is a particularly bad year; last year was especially light due to the drought.”

There’s no set date for the end of mosquito season. Rather, it concludes after the first hard frost.

The Environmental Health Department tends to roughly 20 bosque traps and checks them weekly from May through October. The city uses two types of traps. The first attracts mosquitoes with carbon dioxide emitted by dry ice, with a fan blowing them into a net for later collection. The second type of trap uses standing water to lure mosquitoes in and then a small fan pulls them into a trap.

After mosquitoes are collected, they are taken to a lab where each is counted – by hand – and sorted by species.

Special attention is given to mosquitoes from the culex genus because they can spread the West Nile virus. Routine testing on those mosquitos is what led to the city’s recent announcement of the first positive West Nile test of the year.

“We urge people to continue to take precautions against mosquito bites throughout the rest of the season,” said Mark DiMenna, the deputy director for the Environmental Health Department, in a prepared statement.

Besides the use of insect repellent that contains DEET, the city also encourages property owners to screen off rain barrels, remove any standing water where mosquitoes could lay eggs, and regularly change the water in birdbaths, wading pools, and pet water bowls.