Entomology expert: Rainy weather sets up potential for ‘epic’ mosquito season
MADISON, Wis. — While summer weather has us itching to get outside, mosquitoes just have us itching.
Susan Paskewtiz, a professor in the entomology department at University of Wisconsin-Madison, said the area’s mosquito hatch is off to an early start thanks to a very rainy May.
“This has been an unusually high-intensity year,” she said. “It means there will be a lot of nuisance mosquito activity out there. A lot of people will be bitten in their own yards.”
Fighting the pests can be a losing battle, but it’s one Mike Freeman is taking on with his business, Mosquito Authority, which offers to mosquito-proof backyards.
“What we do is treat vegetation all along the property line. We stay away from flowers, beneficial insects,” he said.
The idea is to chemically treat plants so mosquitos will land on them and die before landing on people.
“We’re treating vegetation so you’re not rubbing chemicals on your body,” he said. “It’s just an alternative way of giving yourself protection.”
He said that, this year, business has been swarming.
“The phone’s been ringing nonstop,” he said.
Paskewitz said chemically treating your backyard can be helpful, and is safe for children and pets, but it’s not foolproof, and won’t last the whole summer.
“But most Wisconsinites are hearty folks and know how to deal with mosquitos,” she said.
For Freeman, dealing with mosquitos means taking a stand.
“What we’re able to do is give people their backyards back,” he said.
Paskewitz said last year was a record-setting year for mosquito activity, and this year has that potential, as well.
“We could really be looking at some epic populations this year, but it all depends on the rain.”
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