INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana's recent heavy rains have set the stage for an
explosion of mosquitoes in the weeks ahead as the bloodsucking insect's
eggs hatch in waterlogged areas, health officials and entomologists said.
Purdue University professor emeritus of entomology Ralph Williams told The
Indianapolis Star that bad mosquito seasons are nothing new in Indiana and
there's "nothing to panic about yet."
"We got a lot of rain and this will translate into a larger than normal
number of mosquitoes," he said. "We should start seeing them in the next
Williams said that the worst year for mosquitoes was 1975, when an
outbreak of St. Louis encephalitis infected more than 300 Indiana
Mosquito eggs can remain dormant for years in dry conditions, such as last
summer's drought, until they hatch in high waters.
"Hey, mosquitoes have been around at least 170 million years, and it's not
because they are stupid," said Joe Conlon, an entomologist and technical
adviser to the American Mosquito Control Association.
A spokesman for the Marion County Health Department said no mosquito
advisories have been issued locally, but that the department plans to
monitor the situation in the weeks ahead.
Last year, local officials issued a warning that Marion County had so many
discarded tires that residents faced an elevated threat of West Nile
disease, which is carried by mosquitoes. Last year, more than 60 Indiana
residents were sickened by West Nile, and six died.
Although the heavy rains and ponded water are perfect conditions for
millions of mosquito eggs to hatch, health officials said residents can
reduce that threat by eliminating the insect's potential breeding grounds,
such as cleaning out clogged gutters and checking for water trapped in
canvas or plastic tarps.