Mosquito Watch in Williston

They’ll be spraying for mosquitoes this evening in Williston.
That’s because of what was found this morning as mosquito traps were analyzed.
Jim Olson was there as workers investigated the contents of those traps.

Say hello to a nasty little critter.

(James Taverna, Williston Vector Control)  “This is a culex tarsalis. This is the mosquito breed that is a carrier for west nile virus.”

Several culex tarsalis were found this morning in Williston as workers for Vector Control carefully inspected the bugs that had been cpatured overnight.

(James Taverna, Williston Vector Control)  “These are all culex tarsalis…” 

This is the first time this year that enough of the specific mosquitoes were captured to warrant spraying. But the head of Williston’s mosquito control effort says he expects this is just the start of a bad year for the bugs.

(Fran Bosch, Williston Vector Control Director) “I’m worried about it, I’m afraid it’s going to be like last year with the extended flooding.”

He’s talking about the Missouri River that is flooding lowlands near Williston – and providing perfect spots for the most-feared mosquito in these parts to breed.

(Fran Bosch, Williston Vector Control Director) “There’s a lot of acreage that’s maybe six inches deep – and that becomes a perfect hatchery for culex.”
(James Taverna, Williston Vector Control)  “As the flood water goes down we shift from more nusiance mosquitoes to more disease vector mosquitoes.”

Bosch says his crews will be spraying to control the mosquitoes – where they breed and after they’ve started buzzing. Williston will also be getting a shot of aerial control from a familiar source – the Air National Guard will spray next week as it has in recent years, helping control the bugs before they hatch. Bottom line is Bosch hopes the control efforts help avoid a repeat of last year when several West Nile cases were contracted in area counties.

(Fran Bosch, Williston Vector Control Director) “Usually we have one case per year. Last year we had four. McKenzie County has eight, Mountrail had six, all of those are elevated numbers of West Nile virus.”

Meanwhile, this lab will stay busy every day, sorting and counting, to watch for culex tarsalis, and ordering spraying when they’re found.
In Williston, Jim Olson, KX News.

So far this year, only one location in the state – Grand Forks – has captured mosquitoes that tested positive for West Nile, and there has been one confirmed case of the disease in a human this year in North Dakota.

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