Multnomah County says we could reach record number of mosquitoes this year

Published: Jun. 6, 2023 at 5:50 PM PDT
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PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - Summer is almost here and in case you haven’t noticed or been bitten, mosquitoes are out.

“On average, the five-year average, that we would get on a weekly trap basis would be in the hundreds. This time of year, it might be even less than that. maybe 25 to 50 mosquitoes per trap per night. Right now, we’re getting traps that are in the thousands,” Levi Zahn, the supervisor for Multnomah County’s Vector Control and Code Enforcement Program, said.

He said they collected 10,000 to 15,000 mosquitoes from a dozen traps over the last week. They monitor diseases they may carry, like West Nile virus, which Zahn said isn’t a concern right now.

Zahn said we’re seeing an early spike in mosquitoes because of the warm weather we’ve seen recently.

“The mosquito that’s problematic for us is called the floodwater mosquito. The river comes up, the mosquitoes develop in there, then they emerge. That early season snow melt combined with all the heat made the mosquitoes emerge quicker than they normally would,” Zahn said.

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He said the county is on track to beat last year’s record number of mosquitoes, but it all depends on mother nature.

“If it continues to stay dry and there isn’t a lot of rain events and the snow melt continues at a normal pace, it’s possible that mosquito numbers could continue to decline,” he said. “If we get any big rain events, real heatwaves in the rocky mountains and the river comes up, we could be right back to where we were in seeing way more mosquitoes.”

Zahn said the best thing you can do to protect yourself is by using repellent, wearing long sleeves and pants at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active, and getting rid of standing water around your home.

“You look for standing water, you just empty it out. If you have flowerpots, sprinkler system, just tip it out every week. As long as you do it on a five-to-seven-day cycle, you’re going out there, looking at it, you’ll interrupt the mosquito’s reproduction cycle, and you’ll limit a lot of their spread.”

You can also get mosquito fish from their office to put in your own pond.