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West Nile a concern as mosquitoes make comeback

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OKLAHOMA CITY – Experts have bad news for those looking to spend some time outside this summer. Agriculture experts from OSU Extension said mosquitoes will be worse this year because of all the rain we have had.

Flowers and greenery are blooming and homeowners like Sofilla Morales said the pests are buzzing.

“As soon as you sit down right there, they’re after you,” Morales said.

The vampire-like vermin aren’t exactly harmless. According to the Oklahoma State Department of Health, 15 Oklahomans died last year when mosquitoes gave them West Nile Virus; 163 were hospitalized.

OSU Extension Agriculture Educator Ray Ridlen said he believes the risk is rising as rain continues to fall.

“As much water as we’ve had, it looks like it could be much worse this year,” Ridlen said.

Kids, elderly, and those with weakened immune systems are most vulnerable to the deadly effects of West Nile. Spraying insecticides with DEET can help, but you can do more.

“As far as trying to control mosquitoes by using an adulticide or insecticide, it would be very difficult,” Ray Ridken said. “So what we recommend is trying to control the breeding cites.”

Breeding cites are in almost every yard. They could be standing water in bird baths, decorative water features, empty plant pots, and even dog bowls.

“They hang around all the greenery and if you have standing water, you can see the larvae just kinda swimming around,” Morales said.

Morales throws mosquito dunk rings in the water to kill the larvae so she can enjoy the weather without being bitten. So far, there have been no reports of West Nile Virus in our state.