Recent heavy rains brings more mosquitoes to mid-Missouri

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COLUMBIA - The recent heavy rains in mid-Missouri have brought more than just flooding and water damage.

It's also increased the likelihood of more mosquitoes this summer.

"Certainly it's going to increase the risk of more mosquitoes being present if we don't do something about it," said Scott Clardy, assistant director of Columbia/Boone County Public Health and Human Services.

According to Clardy, standing pools of water are the main cause behind the increase. As heavy rain creates new pools and expands the size of existing pools, the number of mosquitoes goes up.

With more mosquitoes comes concern about mosquito-borne diseases, such as the West Nile virus. The department has not received any reports of mosquito-borne diseases so far this summer. And there were no cases of the West Nile virus reported in Columbia last year.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported there were 13 cases of West Nile virus total in the state of Missouri in 2014.

Columbia/Boone County Public Health and Human Services sprays local trails and parks every Thursday during the summer months. If the department receives a report of a mosquito-borne infection, it will also spray the site of the outbreak and the surrounding area.

"We get calls from people every once in a while concerned about standing water behind their house, you know, from a creek or something like that," Clardy said. "And we'll go out and take a look at that and if we can treat it, we'll do that also."

This is the eleventh year Public Health and Human Services has sprayed for mosquitoes. Boone County and the city of Columbia fund the service.

As for what you can do about mosquitoes, Clardy recommends trying to prevent standing pools of water by emptying things like birdbaths and buckets of water. Those who spend time outside should also use insect repellent with DEET in it.