MOUNT LAREL, N.J. - The early occurrence of mosquito-borne diseases like West Nile virus (WNV) and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) in coastal areas this year means mosquito control districts have a bigger job to do with a smaller pool of resources, according to the American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA).
As many cash-strapped states face fire financial situations, budget cuts have, in many cases, crippled mosquito control programs in areas where WNV and EEE tend to be more prevalent, and the early appearance of mosquitos hasn't made things easier, the organization said.
"These diseases are normally most prevalent in late summer, but have appeared unusually early this year," said Joseph Conlon, technical advisor, AMCA. "An unseasonably warm winter and elevated rainfall levels may be to blame in coastal areas."
Recent heavy rainfalls have caused the hatching of mosquito eggs that have lain dormant in ground depressions in many areas over years of drought. The result: a higher than normal crop of mosquitos and the potential for an increased incidence of mosquito-borne diseases, AMCA said.
Mosquito control in the U.S. is thought to be the best in the world, but AMCA says cuts in the mosquito control budgets and increased federal and state regulatory requirements are making it more difficult for control programs to use the tools necessary to protect the public.
People can do their part by eliminating or treating mosquito breeding habitats around their homes, which includes discarded tires, unwashed bird baths, clogged rain gutters and unused plastic wading pools. People can take steps to prevent bites by wearing long-sleeved clothing and applying EPA-registered repellents such as DEET, picaridin, IR3535 and oil of lemon-eucalyptus. For more information visit Mosquito.org.