Flooding leads to increased mosquito population - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Flooding leads to increased mosquito population

LAWTON, Okla._The floods in southwest Oklahoma have led to a drastic increase in the mosquito population.

Experts say all of the standing water is a prime breeding ground for them. This means yards and fields are prone to see more mosquitoes than areas with moving water, like creeks, so officials and citizens are doing their best to manage this growing problem.

The Public Works Department says since the floods hit town, the mosquito problem has been the worst they've seen in years. So, they've been sending a technician out around town to apply larvicide to standing water in hopes of getting rid of the breeding grounds, but citizens say the mosquitoes have still been bothering them.

"Oh my gosh, they're everywhere. You just can't get away from them."

Before Michelle Whipp and Brittany Beasley go for their daily walk at the park, they prepare for the mosquitoes they know they'll face. Whipp says she's allergic to mosquitoes, so using repellent is particularly important in her case.

"I swell up really big, so I try to make sure that they stay away from me and I stay away from them," Whipp explained.

Public Works director Larry Wolcott says this is one of the best ways citizens can prevent mosquito bites and recommends they follow the "4 Ds."

"Drain—drain standing water. Dress in long sleeves and long pants. Stay indoors if you can during dusk and dawn hours and apply DEET insecticide when you're outside," said Wolcott.

Bill Shoemate and his crew have been working outside every day trying to get the Comanche Nation Water Park open for summer and says it's important to stay prepared with the long hours they spend outside.

"We have big cans of mosquito spray. In fact, I just gave them a big bucket of those rings you use to try to get rid of mosquitoes. So, we're fighting that along with trying to get this place cleaned up," said Shoemate.

But it's not just people affected by the pesky insects. Suncrest Stables manager Jane Ann Whisenant says when the mosquitoes come out, she does her best to make sure the horses are protected too.

"We keep fly sheets on the horses, we fly spray them, we have fans on them, we have goldfish in the water troughs because they eat the mosquito larvae," explained Whisenant.

Whisenant says horses are prone to the deadly West Nile virus, and with one case reported in Tulsa already this year she says she can't be too careful.

"I don't know the percentages of death, but I'm not taking any chances," she said.

Horses aren't the only pets affected by mosquitoes; officials say they put cats and dogs at high risk for heartworms, so pet owners need to make sure they take proper preventative measures.

Officials say the best way to prevent a mosquito infestation in your yard is to drain any water you may have in buckets or birdbaths. But if you must keep them filled, they advise you change the water every few days.

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