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Wet monsoon isn't the only reason for increase in Valley mosquitoes, experts say

Posted at 2:53 PM, Aug 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-30 15:47:21-04

PHOENIX — This year’s monsoon season is leaving the Valley with some extra unwelcome visitors.

Experts tell ABC15 that standing water isn’t the only contributor to an increase in mosquitoes. They say these pesky insects have now adapted and can reproduce in drier areas -- like Phoenix.

Denis Logan, the owner of Mosquito Joe of Buckeye-Sun City, says he has never seen anything like this.

“We’re finding that the Culex species in particular, and even the Aedes...they don't even need water, which is crazier,” he added.

Logan says female mosquitoes are willing to lay their eggs in dry areas until a storm comes in. Then, the water will start the hatching process.

“And the eggs are showing to be drought-tolerant. Which means the eggs will survive in a dry area, like Arizona,” said Logan.

It's something Angi Aguilar found out the hard way.

“We get mosquitoes back here and we love to entertain and sit outside, and we're having a problem doing that because we’re constantly being eaten alive,” Aguilar added.

She says she has no standing water or vegetation in her yard. Logan tells ABC15 she doesn’t need that to have a mosquito problem.

“Mosquitoes aren’t territorial. If your neighbor has dropped that cap, those 350 mosquitoes are going to go 350 yards to find their blood meal. Which means that could be three football fields worth, that’s your entire block,” said Logan.

As far as mosquito reproduction goes, he says it doesn't take much time before you have a nightmare on your hands.

“Forty-eight hours is all you need,” he added.

So, in a matter of days, you can have more than 1,000 mosquitoes in your yard.

“We can go through a can of spray, every night, sitting out here so it’s bad,” Aguilar told ABC15.

Eventually, the mosquitoes bugged her to the point where she knew she needed help. So, she called Mosquito Joe. They are going to treat her (mostly) concrete yard before it turns into a bigger problem.

“The key things are that they’re vector carriers,” said Logan.

West Nile, zika, and encephalitis are all diseases mosquitoes can spread to humans or even pets.

Maricopa County Environmental Services confirms the recent increase in mosquitoes is because of the active monsoon.

Logan says it’s still important to keep your home clear of standing water and overgrown vegetation -- to help keep the mosquitoes away.

“They’re here, so we want to make sure we can help as many people as we can,” he told ABC15.

ABC15 also met up with Maricopa County's Vector Control to talk mosquitoes. The county is getting a ton of calls from people complaining about them.

They have close to a thousand traps spread out across the Valley to get a sense of how bad a neighborhood is. Once they're trapped and taken back to the county's lab, they're counted and tested for diseases.

The county says one trap had 8,000 mosquitoes in it. The area of Elliot and Cooper in Gilbert is one of the worst right now. It's been sprayed for mosquitoes by the county more than eleven times so far.

The county also emphasized that it doesn't take much water for mosquitoes to hatch.

"What it needs is for that water to be stagnant for a couple days - those are going to hatch," said Johnny Dilone with Maricopa County.

The county says if you think your neighborhood is getting swarmed you can call vector control.

The county says just one call will start an investigation into the pesky bugs.