Health officials urge caution as New York enters peak mosquito season

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WRVO – It’s a pretty typical mosquito season in central New York, according to Onondaga County Health Department officials. Environmental Health Director Lisa Letteney says that means we are entering the time of year when the largest number of mosquitos are out and about.

“We get a peak at this time because of the hatching of the perturbans, a certain type of mosquito, and this type comes out this time of year, and they’re small and they like to bite people,” Letteney said.

While the mosquito population generally decreases through the rest of the summer, that’s when they are more likely to carry the dangerous Eastern Equine Encephalitis and West Nile viruses.

Onondaga County started trapping mosquitos at the end of May. And after trapping more than 50,000, none have tested positive for West Nile Virus or EEE. Letteney said it’s generally too early to find those viruses in mosquitos, but not unheard of.

“It generally comes later in the season,” Letteney said. “We have had EEE as early as late June in the past, and it was unusual. And it only happens rarely, but generally we don’t see EEE until mid August.”

Still, with the biggest number of mosquitos of the season out there right now, Letteney said it’s time to take precautions. Using insect repellant spray and wearing long sleeves and pants at dawn and dusk, is a start. And there are also things to do around the yard to prevent mosquitos from breeding.

“Make sure you’re tipping over those flower pots and items that fill up with water when it rains,” Letteney said. “Keeping grass short and keep gutters clean, so there are things you can do to reduce breeding on your own property.”