SAINT PAUL, Minn. — KARE 11 has heard complaints from several viewers about swarms of mosquitoes outside.
A few of us in the newsroom also encountered large swarms this Memorial Day weekend.
But are the mosquitoes really that bad this year? Or is it all in our heads?
Alex Carlson with the Metropolitan Mosquito Control District (MMCD) says it's true: There are a lot of mosquitoes out there.
"We're definitely seeing some more mosquito activity than we've seen the last couple of years,” Carlson explained.
"Last week, we set a record for customer calls in a single week with people calling to report high mosquito activity."
Carlson said during the peak days of summer, the MMCD usually receives around 100 mosquito calls/complaints per day.
Last Wednesday, their office received more than 350 calls.
“We’ve been busy,” Carlson said.
Here's what's going on.
Carlson said the most common type of mosquito in Minnesota is the “floodwater mosquito.” Their eggs can survive for up to seven years.
Carlson said a lot of these eggs were left unhatched over the last two years due to the drought and they’re all suddenly hatching now.
“This winter, all of those ponds and swamps refilled and so they’re back to their normal levels. The rivers are also high and so a lot of those eggs are hatching right now,” Carlson explained.
“The situation this summer is that every time we get rain, it’s going to hatch more of these eggs that have just been hanging out these last couple of years.”
Carlson said once the eggs come into contact with water, it usually takes about a week for them to grow from larvae into fully grown adults.
Some “hot spots” around the Twin Cities metro include areas along the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers, parts of Anoka County, parts of Carver County, Chanhassen and Saint Paul.
"We actually had to do some extra helicopter treatments in the south part of Saint Paul this past week because we were seeing so much mosquito breeding,” Carlson explained.
So, will this trend continue all summer? Carlson said it's too early to tell.
The MMCD is seeing lower numbers of “cattail mosquitoes,” which usually emerge around the Fourth of July, which is good, but there are several other types of mosquitoes that could hatch any time it rains.
"Every time we see those significant rain falls, we say about an inch of rainfall or more, that's going to trigger a significant hatch,” Carlson said.
MMCD field crews have been out all week gathering samples and they're hoping to send out some new numbers on Tuesday — or Wednesday at the latest.
To check out the latest readings in your area click here.
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