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Mosquitoes’ sting starting to be felt

A mosquifills with blood human arm. 
| Sun-Times Medifile

A mosquito fills with blood on a human arm. | Sun-Times Media file

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Updated: June 28, 2011 2:20AM

Residents are starting to feel the bite of mosquitoes as an abnormally rainy spring has created ripe breeding conditions for the insects.

George Balis, an entomologist for Clarke Mosquito Control — which provides mosquito control services for most Lake County communities — said May was the third-wettest month on record for the region, and June has continued to have considerable rainfall.

“Overall, it’s been a very wet spring and early summer and with that we do see an increase in floodwater mosquitoes,” said Balis.

Cooler temperatures for most of the spring kept mosquito numbers at manageable levels, but Balis said trap counts are now slightly above normal and numbers have reached significant annoyance levels in some wooded areas of the county.

“If the temperatures start to get significantly warmer, then we should see a significant increase in mosquitoes,” he said.

Communitywide sprayings to reduce the adult mosquito population are tentatively planned this week in Libertyville, Mundelein and Vernon Hills, depending on weather conditions and mosquito counts. Clarke has been performing mosquito surveillance and monitoring, larval treatments of areas of standing water and catch basins, and other mosquito control efforts throughout the spring.

Mundelein has received a fairly significant number of calls so far from residents complaining about mosquitoes.

“It has been a wet spring so there are a lot of mosquitoes,” said Assistant Village Administrator Mike Flynn. “It hasn’t been very conducive to spraying for mosquitoes. We’ve had a lot of calls.”

Mundelein spends about $46,720 on its base mosquito control program with Clarke and another $5,600 per each communitywide spraying. He expects there will be three communitywide sprayings this year. In addition, Flynn said Clarke will also be spraying in the downtown area near the Mundelein Community Days grounds prior to the start of the festival.

Vernon Hills has a picture of a mosquito posted on its Web site with information about Clarke’s mosquito abatement control in the village. Village Engineer David Brown said the village has budgeted $56,700 for its mosquito program this year, which include mosquito surveillance and monitoring, larval control and four communitywide sprayings.

“We are starting to receive calls (from residents) and we’re certain with warming temperatures we’ll be receiving more calls of concern,” said Brown. “We’re lucky that we’ve had some cooler temperatures but temperatures are starting to warm up.”

Libertyville is spending about $25,200 on its mosquito program through Clarke this year, which includes larval control and catch basin treatments and three communitywide sprayings, according to Village Administrator Kevin Bowens. The program also includes a targeted spraying at Butler Lake Park before the July 4 festivities.

Bowens said so far he has only received a few calls from residents about mosquitoes but expects that will change.

“I think the mosquito population is going to be significant, based on everything we’ve heard from Clarke,” he said. “They’re anticipating it to be a season of heavy mosquito activity.”

So far, Clarke has not found any positive samples for West Nile virus in mosquito pool or traps, but Balis said they have collected some of the Culex mosquitoes that typically carry West Nile. He said Culex mosquitoes tend to breed in small, warm bodies of standing water or man-made containers such as empty flower pots or kids swimming pools.

Balis advises residents to pour out containers that can hold standing water and clean out gutters as well as to wear mosquito repellent when outdoors. Individuals also can report areas of standing water to the Clarke Mosquito Control hot line at (800) 942-2555.

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