MADISON, Wis. -

If you’ve been bitten by a mosquito this year and think we’re in the thick of the season get ready for a surprise.  Health officials in Madison and Dane County say the worst of the mosquito season is likely to hit in 7 to 12 days.

Heavy rains have saturated soils and left standing water throughout the area.  That is creating a breeding ground for mosquitos.

“When the rains come in they’re going to create mosquitos,” says John Hausbeck, Environmental Health Services Supervisor for Public Health Madison & Dane County.  “Any place where they’re able to lay their eggs over last fall and early this spring those eggs are out there now starting to develop and in about a weeks’ time we’re going to see the flood water mosquitos just hatch out and produce big swarms.”

Hausbeck says the flood water mosquitos do not typically carry the West Nile Virus.  Culex mosquitos do and breed in stagnant water.  For that reason home owners are encouraged to remove any standing water from their property.

Health officials know that mosquitos carrying the West Nile Virus are present in Dane County this year.  A dead bird tested positive for the virus.  Residents are being asked to report any dead birds they find, especially Crows and Blue jays to the Dead Bird Hotline at 1-800-433-1610.

As the number of mosquitos increases individuals are reminded to avoid areas where heavy mosquito populations exist.  If you are going to be outdoors in those areas, wearing long pants and long sleeves will offer some protection.  But the use of a mosquito repellant with DEET is strongly encouraged.

Some individuals are reluctant to use the mosquito repellants out of concern for the impact the chemicals might have on humans.  Health officials say, as long as it is used properly, mosquito repellants are safe for humans.

“The DEET chemical has been around for a long time.  It was developed in the 50’s.  It’s been used for a number of decades and really inappropriate use is the only time where we see any kinds of adverse effects for DEET,” says Hausbeck.

For more information please visit the Public Health Madison & Dane County website at:   http://publichealthmdc.com/disease/westNile/

Additional information about West Nile Virus can be found at the Wisconsin Department of Health Services website at:  http://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/communicable/ArboviralDiseases/WestNileVirus/Index.htm