ST. LOUIS - The recent major flooding along our area rivers has caused an annoying pest problem to crop up across St. Louis County.
5 On Your Side talked to an expert at the St. Louis County Health Department Tuesday to see how the extra water is impacting the number of mosquitoes swarming neighborhoods around the region.
"Typically once they emerge, we will see a huge influx of them pretty much at first, and then they actually have one of the longest flight ranges of all mosquitoes, so they can travel up to 15 miles from where they emerge," said Jim Sayers, vector control supervisor at the health department.
Sayers told 5 On Your Side the county has about 50-55 different species of mosquitoes. Flood plain mosquitoes, or aedes vexans, don't carry diseases for humans, but are considered one of the biggest nuisance mosquitoes due to their aggressive, painful bite. They're known to be active during the day and at night.
The amount of extra water still hanging around from the flooding on the Meramec and Missouri rivers is causing increase of the bugs around the bi-state.
The mosquitoes lay their eggs on ground that is prone to flooding, and then once the water rises, they hatch.
"Once the water is gone, their breeding habitat is gone, and the numbers will kind of die down," said Sayers.
Sayers said to cut down on the number of mosquitoes in your yard, you need to get rid of any standing water. Gutters, corrigated downspouts, and bird feeders can all be breeding ground for the bugs.
"We currently have crews that are going in there as the water recedes. They're treating the water to prevent as much emergence of adult mosquitoes as we can, and at night time we do ULV spraying for mosquitoes."
Crews from the health department focus most of their efforts on the mosquitoes that carry diseases common to our area, like West Nile and St. Louis encephalitis. Sayers did say the mosquito that transmits Zika virus is not present in St. Louis County right now.
It's important to note that these mosquitoes can spread heartworm to dogs, so make sure your pet is protected.
You can use a box fan to keep them away from you while you're sitting on the porch, use barrier spray on trees and bushes, and use repellent containing DEET to combat the mosquitoes.
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