Flooding prompts mosquito concerns in Canyon County

CANYON COUNTY -- Flooding along the Boise River and Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge could mean a nasty season for mosquitoes in the Treasure Valley, Canyon County officials warn.

Director of Canyon County Mosquito Abatement District Ed Burnett said his department is already working to kill off the insect larvae before they hatch.

“We are seeing extremely high concentrated numbers of mosquito larvae and as temperatures warm up, the mosquito larvae found in many of the flooded areas around the county may turn into swarms of biting adult mosquitoes,” he said in a Monday press release.

The Canyon County Mosquito Abatement District is adding the larvae-suppressing bacteria Bacillus theragnosis israelensis to flooded areas around Lake Lowell and the river. The bacteria are not harmful to people, animals, or fish.

Burnett said the district will use airplanes to drop Bti in areas too hard to get to on foot. Aerial treatments are currently scheduled for southside of Lake Lowell and south of Middleton along the Boise River.

More treatments will be added after floodwaters recede enough to allow inspection teams to assess the need, according to the abatement district.

“We are in the process now of mapping out the high-density larvae areas and setting up treatments with Bti by aircraft. Areas which normally can be accessed by ground teams are too dangerous to enter," he said in the release. "However, it is not stopping the hatching of mosquito larvae which fortunately are not vectors (carriers) of diseases such as West Nile virus.  West Nile virus carrying mosquitoes become active when the air temperatures reach the 90's."

The mosquitoes that have already hatched are in their juvenile stage and are not disease carriers, but will swarm in high numbers, according to the district. Adult mosquito activity is expected to ramp up as temperatures rise.

For more information on what the abatement district is doing, visit their website here.

© 2017 KTVB-TV


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