NORMAN, Okla. — The pests of summer have a new nemesis. He is Norman’s “Mosquito Hunter” and he’s in the business of protecting the city from irritating bites and even the dreaded West Nile virus.
Mosquitoes love standing water, and with our abnormally rainy forecast, Stephen Warren is working overtime to make sure Norman’s low mosquito population stays that way.
They’re annoying and they’re everywhere, but the City of Norman thinks the best way to get rid of them is to catch them. Stephen Warren is Norman’s “Mosquito Hunter” or Vector Control Officer.
“They generally come to me,” says Warren. “I would say I’m more of a hunter gatherer.”
He could talk all day about his clever traps, what he catches in these jars and what he sees under that microscope.
Warren says, “When you get up close and take a look at their overall structure it’s kind of amazing.”
He’s outside everyday collecting his “prey,” and tucked away in this small shed, he counts them. If he sees 50 of them inside one trap in one day, they make sure to spray. Warren sees it as Norman’s preemptive strike, unlike surrounding cities.
“They do it because of complaints and we proactively go out and we do it before the complaints happen,” says Warren.
Besides being able to work with what he calls a fascinating insect, seeing the volunteers that let him into their backyards to set his traps is the best part of his day.
It’s a thankless job. Most of Norman doesn’t even know he exists but he’s not looking for any recognition.
“Just doing the job is enough,” says Warren. “People don’t need to know about it. They do need to know how to protect themselves.”
Warren says the population is low and they have not had to spray once, but they’re still out there.
Click here for more information from our expert on how to combat mosquitoes.