Mosquito Control Begins In The Sioux Empire

First West Nile case comes earlier than usual

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – With the heavy storms at the beginning of the week, the Sioux Empire is now the perfect place for mosquitoes.

Wednesday, South Dakota confirmed the first human case of the West Nile virus in Davison County.

In Sioux Falls, the City Health Program Coordinator says it’s a bit early for the West Nile season, but they’re getting a head start at keeping the pesky bugs at bay.

Certainly seeing a case this early in the season, tells us you know, we need to be on the lookout,” says Denise Patton.

The sound of mosquito spraying is back for the season.

City officials are seeing an up-tick in mosquitoes already, which means spraying efforts are underway.

It’s a process the City has down to a science.

“It kind of creates a cloud, we want it to,” explains Patton. “We want it to hover in the sky as long as possible so a mosquito flies through it, comes into contact with it and kills it.”

Patton says the spray is safe for pets and humans.

There’s actually only a teaspoon of active ingredient per acre that’s distributed in the spray.

The Sioux Empire attracts different kinds of mosquitoes, but a certain type can become a problem in a hurry.

“It’s called a flood water mosquito that lays their eggs on mud areas that get wet periodically, and anytime it rains and they get submerged in water, they hatch within seconds,” says Patton.

The Health Program Coordinator says the flood water mosquitoes are the most populated here, but fortunately, they don’t usually carry disease.

Unlike another type of mosquito, “The culex mosquito,” says Patton. “We don’t see as many of these, but it only takes one bite and they can make you sick.”

So aside from the city spraying, how can we avoid the bite?

“This is a citronella geranium, or a mosquito plant,” says Taylor Ranum, the greenhouse team leader at Landscape Garden Centers.

There are several types of plants the flying insects don’t like.

“We have the lemon grass, it gives a lemony-citrus smell as well,” says Ranum. “The lemon balm, that’s really fragrant too.”

But plants aren’t the only option.

The solution can also be found in your grass.

“A seeder oil granular that covers up to 4,000 square feet,” explains Paul DeJoung, a retail assistant at Landscape Garden Centers. “It’s very safe.”

The granular can be spread across lawns acting as a repellent for up to 4 weeks.

But Patton says the best thing anyone can do to get rid of mosquitoes around their home, is to simply dump any and all standing water.

“Even a teaspoon of water can hold 500 eggs,” says Patton.

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