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They're back: Mosquito season returns after lower numbers last year

"After a year with pretty much no mosquitoes, because it was very dry last year, they're back, and in some areas they're really heavy," MMCD's Alex Carlson said.

MAPLEWOOD, Minnesota — A cold spring in Minnesota delayed mosquito season but now they're back.

"Now it's warm and we've gotten a lot of rain in the past couple of weeks. So the mosquitoes are here. After a year with pretty much no mosquitoes, because it was very dry last year, they're back, and in some areas they're really heavy," said Alex Carlson, public affairs manager with Metropolitan Mosquito Control District (MMCD). 

While mosquito numbers are up compared to last year, they are better off than in 2020 and 2019.

"I think a lot of people just aren't used to seeing mosquitoes because we had almost a year off. So in some areas they might seem worse, but they're about what they were this time two years ago," Carlson said. 

This weekend, visitors at Fort Snelling State Park complained about the mosquitoes. 

On Sunday afternoon, Pedro Paspuel and his family found a fishing spot in a wooded area by the Minnesota River. But after 15 minutes, Paspuel already had about seven mosquito bites. 

The family ended up moving across the street to the fishing pier in hopes of escaping the worst of it. 

"Usually it's about an inch of rainfall that triggers a hatch of mosquitoes and then we have to go check all the wetlands around the Twin Cities to see where the larvae is so we can respond and try to reduce the number of flying adult mosquitoes before they emerge from the water," Carlson said. "We monitor all of the wetlands that we know hold mosquito larvae and we put a dry pellet. It's got a bacterium in it that the larvae eat and it prevents them from becoming an adult mosquito. So we've been pretty active after all." 

According to Carlson, current hot spots include the northern metro, along with some in the southwest metro and the southern part of St. Paul. 

Usually the peak for mosquitoes in the Twin Cities is around the week of the fourth of July. Carlson said the good news is that their lab is predicting lower than average numbers this year for the species that causes that surge — the cattail mosquito — thanks to last year's drought. However, that could change if there is a large rainstorm the week prior. 

While MMCD's efforts help tamp down mosquito-borne diseases, Carlson also recommends people protect themselves by covering their skin and wearing bug spray. 

Homeowners should also remove any standing water that could be found in places like on loose tarps and in clogged gutters. 

"If you have a patio and you want to be outdoors at night, put up a fan. Because mosquitoes are weak flyers; they can be thrown off by a fan and also it can disperse your scent so that they can't smell you and find you as easily," Carlson said. 

Some good news: black flies were an issue last year, but Carlson said they are not a concern for MMCD this year. 

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