Mosquitoes hatching at higher rate in Yakima County than last year

Mosquitoes hatching at higher rate in Yakima County than last year »Play Video
YAKIMA COUNTY, Wash. -- We're not the only ones taking advantage of this great start to spring: Mosquitoes love it too. They've been hatching at a higher rate in Yakima County than last year. KIMA learned how pest control officers are working to beat the bite.

Deep in the woods in Yakima County, Stephen Ingalls grabbed his gear and made his way through the trees, toward a tiny pond.

Murky and brown, KIMA couldn't see a thing. But Ingalls knew what to look for.

Barely visible, brown and wriggling: mosquito larvae.

"Numbers in the field is up from last year," said Ingalls, manager of the Yakima County Mosquito Control District.

Up 20 percent, he says, the result of a warmer-than-normal spring.

"April 1 this year, we were out in the field, which is common, but this year we were actually finding mosquito larvae on April 1," Ingalls said.

He says the district went full tilt, spraying ponds of stagnant water throughout Yakima County, using a bacterial formula to destroy the larvae's guts without harming other native insects.

Ingalls says the district's work has kept the number of adult mosquitoes down. But, the battle is far from over.

"This year, the river has come up, it's receded, it's come up, it's receded; it's done that about three or four times this year," he said.

Creating more pools through seepage and replenishing old ones, giving eggs in the mud a new place to hatch.

But, Ingalls doesn't mind going back. He also doesn't mind the ticks, mosquito bites and snakes.

"I know that somebody may be able to sit out in their backyard and enjoy their barbecue because they have fewer mosquitoes," he said.

Making Ingalls a local summertime hero.

The mosquito larvae Ingalls showed us are baby floodwater mosquitoes. He says the district will deal with mosquito larvae on farmland in the next few weeks.