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Jun 25, 2012 9:53 AM

Mild Winter May Mean More Mosquitoes

(AP) - Some experts are predicting one of the worst summers in decades for mosquitoes, but a University of Kentucky professor is taking a wait-and-see approach.

UK professor of entomology Grayson Brown told the Lexington Herald-Leader that it will become apparent in a few weeks when summer is in full swing. He says mosquitoes have been increasing their numbers since March and will have a noticeable presence this year.

The mild winter is one reason for the spike.

"It just didn't get cold enough to kill the mosquitoes and their eggs," he said.

And with the warmer weather, mosquitoes began laying eggs earlier.

He says western Kentucky may get the worst of it because of flooding that occurred there last summer.

Brown said the number of bugs will be dependent on the amount of rainfall and the amount of standing water in a location.

"If there's a normal amount of rain from this point on, there will be a normal amount of mosquitoes," he said.

Nathan Powell, senior environmental health specialist at the Lexington Health Department, says a good way to control the populations of the bug is to empty any standing water around a home since it takes less than an inch of water for mosquitoes to lay eggs.

In an effort to prepare for the possibility of problems with mosquitoes, Brown hosted an identification course recently for Lexington residents and public health workers. There are almost 60 species of mosquitoes and all have the potential to carry diseases.

Kathy Fowler, director of the state Department of Public Health's division of protection and safety, attended and said the training will help the department keep control of the mosquito population.

"If there was an outbreak, we don't have a lot of working knowledge to respond," she said.

After the course, Fowler said being able to identify different mosquitoes could help if they begin spreading diseases.

"It gives us another tool to build up our basic knowledge and prepare for whatever could happen," she said.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)


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