Preparing for battle, Minnesota's mosquitoes are about to attack

The skeeter season is near.
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Minnesotans beware, our state bird – the mosquito – is preparing for its spring and summer attack. 

According to Mike MacLean of the Metropolitan Mosquito Control District (MMCD), there are 51 species of mosquito in Minnesota and they're itching to come out. 

"Two or three weeks maybe, before people will start seeing mosquitos in earnest," MacLean tells BMTN. "People don't really have to worry about it until mid-to-late May, when we'll start seeing the kind of numbers that get our attention." 

Fortunately, the late snow and cold season has spared us some of the early mosquito activity, but MacLean's expectation is that the adult skeeter season will run from mid-May until the first hard frost in late September or early October kills most of them. 

But just because the calendar flips to September doesn't mean the mosquitos will let up. 

"What we've seen the last few years is that a lot of times those late season broods of mosquitoes that we get just after Labor Day, are becoming more the rule than the exception."

Mosquito-borne viruses

A word to the wise, MacLean says, is to dump out any buckets of water during your spring cleaning and to get rid of piles of junk that might be laying in your yard.

"The kind of mosquito species that spread disease tend to be the kind of mosquitoes that have gotten really good at using the junk we have laying around."

You should clean out your gutters, too. 

Mosquito-borne viruses in Minnesota include West Nile Virus, with anywhere from three or four to 100 cases a year, and La Crosse Encephalitis, which MacLean says is usually related to piles of junk in people's yards. 

"That's a container breeding mosquitoes that spread that disease."

You don't have to worry about the mosquito that spreads Zika Virus in Minnesota. 

Not the Land of 10,000 Mosquitos?

Last year, PestControlReview.com released its top 10 list for the worst mosquito states in the country, and Minnesota wasn't included.

  1. Florida 
  2. Texas
  3. Louisiana
  4. Georgia
  5. North Carolina
  6. Alabama
  7. South Dakota
  8. Oklahoma
  9. Montana
  10. Virginia

MacLean says that while we don't produce "legendary" mosquito numbers like the deep south, Minnesota's mosquitoes are "real intense" during the summer. 

The big ones

If you see a rather large mosquito this summer, there's a good chance it's a cattail mosquito. 

"Over winters as larvae under the ice, it attaches its breathing tube to the suspended roots of cattails," said MacLean. "That mosquito tends to take its time developing so it gets really big."

Those suckers get to be as large as a fingernail and come out around the Fourth of July, he says. 

According to Orkin, you can do yourself a favor when you know you'll be around mosquitos by wearing long sleeves and pants that aren't tight fitting (mosquitoes can bite through tight-fitting clothes) and use EPA-registered mosquito spray with DEET, picaridin or IR3535 in it. 

It's also a fact that mosquitos are attracted to dark clothing, the MMCD says. 

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