Summer has arrived in the Stateline. However, with the warm temperatures and constant showers, it’s the perfect storm for large mosquito populations.
“They kind of got in my face and stuff when we were walking by the water as they are now,” said Winnebago County resident Ian Heckelsmiller.
“There’s been a lot more rain this year than there has been the previous years, so I’m sure the mosquitoes are just going to get worse,” said Winnebago County resident Deb Kittleson.
Mosquito bites can also bring more than an annoying itch. West Nile has been found in Winnebago County every year since 2001.
“We have had human cases in Winnebago County,” said Winnebago County Health Department Environmental Health Supervisor Ryan Kerch. “It varies every year, but we have detected West Nile Virus in mosquitoes and in birds.”
Anyone that has been bit is at risk of carrying West Nile, but up to 80% of people will never show symptoms.
“The very young, elderly and anyone with compromised immune systems run a higher risk of having complications of West Nile Virus,” Kerch said.
To protect yourself and your family, the Winnebago County Health Department recommends practicing the three R’s: reduce, repel and report.
To reduce the pesky population, it’s important to get rid of standing water.
“Flower pots, wheel barrows, kiddie pools, clogged gutters, anything that can hold water is a potential breeding ground for mosquitoes,” Kerch said.
“Yeah, at our house we still have standing water, so the mosquitoes are just everywhere,” Kittleson said.
If you see a dead bird, you should report it to the health department. It also advises wearing long sleeves and insect repellent containing DEET.
“Try not to get bit,” Heckelsmiller said. “Try to spray bug spray on and what not to not get bit. Definitely invest in some buy spray and make sure you spray it before you go outdoors.”
Tires also make the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes because of the water they can hold.
In an effort to help, the Health Department is hosting a free tire drop off Saturday, June 15 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. To participate, registration is required by 5 p.m. on June 12. You can complete the form online or call 815-720-4100. Location of drop off site will be sent to those that register. Tires must be de-rimmed, from passenger vehicles or light trucks only.