A South Cook County Mosquito Abatement District truck sprays a wooded area for adult moquitoes as part of its eradication program. (Supplied photos)

A South Cook County Mosquito Abatement District truck sprays a wooded area for adult moquitoes as part of its eradication program. (Supplied photos)

What’s the buzz? Floodwater mosquitos are coming 

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Crews from the South Cook County Mosquito Abatement District fight the spread of the bloodsuckers in the south suburbs from Indiana to Will County.

By Isabella Schreck

Recent rainfalls have been needed, but with the rain comes mosquitos – and local experts said the area will be seeing more of those pesky bugs for the rest of this summer.

“The ones we’re about to heavily deal with are floodwater mosquitoes,” said Mark Tomek, a biologist at the Desplaines Valley Mosquito Abatement District. “They’re not really known for carrying any diseases other than maybe dog heartworm.”

Tomek and Luke Chmielewski, director of the South Cook County Mosquito Abatement District out of Harvey, each said the Aedes vexans floodwater mosquito lays its eggs on the ground where they remain dormant until it rains.

Once the rain comes, the eggs hatch, and this kind of mosquito has a flight range of over 10 miles.

After the rain stops and water sits in ditches and trashcans among other places, then Culex, or vector, mosquitoes come out. These insects, which prefer to lay their eggs in stagnant water, can carry the West Nile virus.

West Nile has been found in mosquito samples taken this summer by the Desplaines district, which is not unusual for this time of year but does mean people should take precautions.

Hatching time depends on temperature, Tomek said, but when the heat gets into the 80s, mosquitos can hatch within a day or so and grow into adults within five days. Normally, the process takes a week or so, and the bloodsuckers can live up to two weeks.

Chmielewski said the removal and elimination process involves the three R’s: reduce, repel and report.

“So, you reduce your water. If you got a pool in your backyard, you get rid of it, like if it’s a kiddie pool, buckets, wheelbarrows, that kind of stuff,” Chmielewski said. “And then you repel. You want to put on repellent if you have to be outside.

“Something that’s very important to the community is if you see something, report it. If you see that a guy two doors down from you has an abandoned swimming pool or boat, report it so we can do something about it.”

He noted mosquitoes need water to survive, encouraged residents to wear repellent and, most importantly, and urged homeowners to pay attention to their homes.

“If you see your gutters are clogged up, empty your gutters,” Chmielewski said. “It also takes a long time for a swimming pool to drop. The mosquitoes carry disease, the vector mosquitoes, those mosquitoes like swimming pools and artificial things.”

Tomek offered similar advice.

“For those, we just have to stick with different types of repellents, DEET and other similar things,” Tomek said. “If you’re outdoors, it’s good to have a fan or something running to keep the mosquitoes from being able to fly well. As far as West Nile virus carrying-mosquito, it’s good to have repellents of sorts and long sleeves. Checking around the yard for any amount of standing water is good. It could be a little tarp with a little tiny bit of water in there, but it can pump out a few 100 mosquitoes.”

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