High waters, flooding contribute to Flathead’s busy mosquito season
KALISPELL, Mont. —
The Flathead County Mosquito Control program is reporting an early and relatively bad mosquito season.
Nice weather brings people outdoors, but it also brings mosquitoes.
"Just nasty, relentless, they are everywhere," said Kalispell resident Katrina Ruggels. "You can't really enjoy being outside. You always have to put your spray on."
Flathead County Mosquito Control technician Jake Rubow told NBC Montana they are particularly bad this year.
"It just kicked off early,” said Rubow. “We were seeing flying adults much sooner, about two to three weeks early."
Rubow said an earlier season is a trend that they are starting to see in their reports over the last 10 years.
"Our season is starting about a month earlier," Rubow said.
He said mosquitoes like to breed in standing water, which is water that is less than 2 feet, not moving and has a lot of vegetation.
"So that's kind of their prime habitat," said Rubow.
Flathead County Mosquito Control has 2,000 sites they monitor throughout the Flathead Valley. They test the sites for mosquito larvae.
Rubow said they want to stop mosquitoes at the larvae stage, but flooding and high waters this year have made it difficult.
"The river was so high and stayed flooded so long there were places we just couldn't get our equipment in," Rubow told NBC Montana.
Once mosquitoes become adults the chemicals used to kill them are more harmful and need more regulation.
Rubow offers advice on how residents can try to stop mosquitoes.
"The best thing you can do is monitoring any standing water that is around your property or containers that might provide breeding habitat for mosquito larvae,” Rubow said. “They also harbor in tall grass and vegetation, so mowing regularly can help cut down the mosquitoes."
He said residents can call Mosquito Control at 406-751-8145 to report a highly active mosquito area or lots of standing water.