Getting Ready for Mosquitoes in the Red River Valley this Summer

In the 50 inspections Vector Control has done so far, they've only found about a dozen mosquitoes

FARGO, N.D. — Winter’s late departure may also mean a slow season for bugs.

Cass County’s Vector Control is counting on mosquitoes. They just don’t know how bad they’ll be.

If you thought mosquitoes played an essential role in our ecosystem it turns out, that may not be the case.

“That’s not necessarily true. They’re not a major food source for anything. You could potentially wipe out a large number of mosquitoes in the environment and have no cascading effect,” said Ben Prather, director at Cass County Vector Control.

With the late start to spring this year, it’s looking like there may not be many in the Red River Valley this summer.

In the 50 inspections Vector Control has done so far, they’ve only found about a dozen mosquitoes.

Vector Control has also had to push their pesticide spraying back a few weeks due to a delay of the spring like weather.

The cold April hasn’t allowed for spring rain to fall which is what mosquito populations react to the most.

The frost that’s still on the ground has also prevented many mosquitoes from laying eggs.

Prather says this doesn’t necessarily mean the Red River Valley will have a terrible mosquito season, but if there’s a drought similar to last year, it will definitely mean a lot less bug bites this summer.

“That definitely puts a major damper on what the mosquito population can and will do so we are back more towards normal now. The late season snowfall. That makes every rainfall even more threatening towards increasing the mosquito population as the season wears on,” Prather said.

Regardless of how many mosquitoes there are, Prather says West Nile virus will still be a concern this summer.

“We’ve had a number of fatalities the last decade where we’ve been dealing with West Nile virus and it’ll continue to be a lingering threat in the Great Plains,” Prather said.

Vector Control will continue monitoring Cass County for the virus this year and they’ll also be keeping an eye out for ticks, which are going to be here sooner than some might think.

“They’re going to be out in numbers all of a sudden, very quickly so they might feel more oppressive or more problematic compared to other years where we had a more gradual increase in temperatures,” Prather said.

Vector employees recommend people still wear bug spray no matter how many mosquitoes we get this summer, especially with tick season arriving to avoid contracting Lyme disease.

Categories: Community, Health, Local News, North Dakota News