2018 mosquito season expected to be long

2018 mosquito season expected to be long

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Thursday marked the official first day of summer but the hot weather and bugs have made it feel like it for weeks in Northeast Arkansas.

Each year, we tend to hear people say it's the worst mosquito season in recent history.

"For some reason, people always use the phrase, 'it's the worst we've seen in 40 years,'" said Jim Stark with Vector Disease Control Inc.

Although this season will likely not be the worst in four decades, Stark did say the season is just starting and will get a lot worse than it is right now.

"We got our first hatch [in Jonesboro] over the weekend and that is just the first hatch," Stark said. "Unfortunately, there's going to be a lot more to come. It's going to get a lot worse before it gets better."

He expects to be spraying for mosquitoes all the way into October, mainly because some rice will still be flooded while others are harvesting this year.

In the Delta area, Stark said, the weather doesn't play as big a role in the insect population as the farming does.

"You hear people say, 'well it's going to be a dry year,' but in the Delta, there's no such thing as a dry year because of the agriculture," Stark said. "They're going to flood the rice, that's a given. If it's dry then they're going to irrigate soybeans, cotton, and corn."

That irrigation means more water, which leads to more mosquitoes.

He also said the fact that we had late freezes this spring only affected the first hatch, not the entire season.

There are things you can do at your own house to prevent a mosquito infestation, though.

"You can eliminate anything that will hold extra water like old swimming pools, wading pools, wheelbarrows, boats," Stark said. "Anything that holds water will probably produce mosquitoes."

Vector has just ramped up their spraying in the city of Jonesboro to five or six nights per week.

Stark said while they do not do mosquito abatement at personal homes, you can request a certain area be given extra attention before a large event like a wedding or reunion.

If you call them with that request at least 24 hours out, they will try to help.

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