The past couple of years have been exceptionally dry in Utah, which means people have perhaps forgotten about one annoyance that comes with summer — mosquitoes. 

This water year, the precipitation totals are up, as are the flows in area rivers and canals. This is a good thing, as reservoirs and aquifers are in need of a good recharge. 

However, a wetter year means that mosquitoes are going to have more success multiplying.

Mosquito bites can be more than just an annoyance.

In the past, cases of West Nile Virus and other mosquito-borne illnesses have caused serious illness in both livestock and humans.

In past years there have been as many as 70 West Nile cases reported in Utah. While few of these result in death, it can still be a dangerous disease.

County mosquito abatement programs are working overtime to deploy larvicide and prepare for nightly spraying. 

However, with people opting their property out of the mosquito spray zones, as well as the immensity of the task, it’s unrealistic to think that abatement can deal with all of the mosquitoes. 

People have a responsibility to do their part to help lessen the annoyance and threat of mosquito populations. 

One important thing everyone can do is check for and eliminate standing water. Mosquitoes require standing water for their early life cycle. Old tires, wading pools or other standing water can make an attractive breeding ground for mosquitoes.

With many people enjoying the outdoors during the warm months of summer, it’s important to remember to protect one’s self from mosquito bites.

Here are some tips recommended by the Utah Department of Health for reducing the danger of West Nile Virus -

• Always use mosquito repellents containing DEET or picaridin when outdoors from dusk to dawn. Make mosquito repellent an essential item in every vehicle, backpack or purse for any outdoor activity.

• Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants while outdoors, especially in the morning and evening hours. 

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