There is a mosquito causing problems in Cache Valley, and it behaves much differently than residents might be used to.
The breed, Aedes dorsalis, is a “gold-colored aggressive day-biting mosquito that breeds in a variety of brackish and freshwater habitats,” according to a Facebook post from Cache Mosquito Abatement District officials. The species is capable of traveling up to 30 miles from their breeding habitat for a “blood meal,” though typically they stay within 10.
Although this mosquito isn’t new to the area, it bites during daylight hours and dusk, making its species unique. Aedes dorsalis is a floodwater mosquito, so after laying eggs in soft mud, they can stay there dormant for up to 7-10 years.
“There’s been some flooding and it’s been warm,” said Richard Rigby, manager of the Cache Mosquito Abatement Department, when asked what makes this year particularly bad. “It’s been a little bit of everything.”
The bite of the female has been described as “vicious” and they prefer open habitats such as grasslands, salt marshes and vegetation. While West Nile virus has been a particular concern in Utah this season, it hasn’t been detected in this species in Cache Valley so far this year.
The Cache Mosquito Abatement District stated that the “type of mosquito and their behavior make it difficult to control with spraying because of the nature of them being a daytime biter” and to “please be proactive and wear long-sleeve pants and shirts and use appropriate mosquito repellent.”
Adults are most active at temperatures between 50-95 degrees Fahrenheit.
Rigby stated that there are 16 traps throughout the valley to catch and monitor mosquitoes to see if they are carrying diseases. Logan City also has set three or four traps that CMAD picks up weekly to “count and speciate” mosquitoes that carry West Nile virus. When the number reaches 50, the samples are sent to the state health lab.
Logan has also shared words of advice on combating the mosquito. To “fight the bite,” the city urges residents to:
— Wear long-sleeves, long pants, and socks while outdoors, especially between dusk and dawn.
— Use an insect repellent with 20%-30% DEET, which is safe to use during pregnancy. Repellents are not recommended for children younger than two months of age.
— Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water. Remove any puddles of water or standing water including in pet dishes, flower pots, wading and swimming pools, buckets, tarps, and tires.
— Keep doors, windows and screens in good condition and make sure they fit tightly.
— Keep weeds and tall grass cut short.
A Utah Department of Health press release on Sept. 8 stated that at least 11 cases of West Nile Virus and one death had been reported in Salt Lake, Davis and Weber counties. Mosquitoes carrying West Nile Virus have been reported in Lewiston and Benson as of two weeks ago.