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Published June 29, 2011, 07:07 PM

Crews Aiming to Stop Mosquitoes at the Source

High river levels this time of year make for ideal mosquito breeding conditions. That's why Grand Forks mosquito control is spreading larvacide chemicals on the flooded edges of the river this week.

By: David Schwab, WDAZ

High river levels this time of year make for ideal mosquito breeding conditions.

That's why Grand Forks mosquito control is spreading larvacide chemicals on the flooded edges of the river this week.

Floodwater that spills out of the banks often times just sits there, and makes great breeding ground for mosquitoes.

Elizabeth Vistad and Laura Davison are spending their summer cruising Grand Forks streets and helping you steer clear of mosquitoes. These members of the mosquito patrol are dropping water-soluble packets of larvacide down the catch basins.

"There is kind of a little part at in the catch basin in the bottom where the water collects so the mosquitoes can breed," Vistad said.

But it's not just here where mosquitoes multiply. Recent rains have raised the river, and water around the edges is a perfect place for mosquitoes to lay their eggs.

"Because it's slow moving and it's not running water. So the mosquito eggs will hatch out of there," Todd Hanson said.

Crews are out on the edges of the river spreading the chemical that prevents the hatched mosquitoes from becoming adults.

So far this year, mosquito numbers have been low. In fact, this is only the third time in the last 16 years where a city-wide spray wasn't necessary until July. Hanson says numbers seem to be low after major spring flooding.

"I don't know for sure, but we had a late hatch last year. They may have not have laid a lot of floodwater eggs. We had a lot of runoff this spring and that may have flushed out of a lot of those floodwater eggs also," Hanson said.

All this work to prevent big mosquito numbers seems to be paying off as Grand Forks county has had the lowest number of the West Nile cases in the state. It's a disease that is spread by the Culex Tarsalis mosquito species. Trapped mosquitos are brought to a lab to be identified.

"Once she sees the Culex Tarsalis, she will be pulling them out and separating them and we'll be testing them for the West Nile virus," Hanson said.

It will take crews a couple of days to get the larvacide spread around the river.

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