Serving Mapleton, Illinois since 2022

Mapleton Mail

Mosquito Populations Explode

Mosquitoes are described as small flies that are part of the family of dipteran flies, with females that have organs adapted to puncture the skin of animals to suck their blood. Or, more simply stated, small flies that leave itchy, annoying bites. Mosquitos have hit hard in our area this year, especially in areas that have had a lot of rain the last few months. Knowing this, it is easy to wonder what our local governments are doing to fix the problem. Here’s the answer. 

The following towns are not planning on spraying for mosquitos: Waynesville, McLean, and Stanford. Atlanta, Armington, and Danvers will all be spraying to help the mosquito problem. Minier joins the list of places that will be spraying, they have sprayed once and intend to spray two more times before the end of the season. Hopedale sprays once a week to fight off the pesky insects. 

Our local health departments have offered a few tips to help rid the mosquito problem in our area. The Tazewell County Health Department suggests trying to eliminate any possible mosquito breeding site. They describe a possible breeding site as “anywhere that water is retained for more than seven to ten days”. Typical areas mosquito breeding sites can be found include: tires off rims, open containers, an uncovered boat, a birdbath, a swimming pool, pet bowls, plant drip trays, ditches, and roof gutters.

McLean County Health Department described how to prevent mosquito-borne diseases, which are mentioned later in the article. First, they began by laying out where you are most likely to be bitten by a mosquito: outside at dusk and dawn (where culex mosquitos are active), standing pools of water, and locations with doors or windows with loose fitting screens or holes or tears in the screens. 

The McLean County Health Department suggests the following strategies to avoid catching a mosquito-borne illness. They are: avoid being outdoors at dusk or dawn, if outdoors wear protective clothing (shoes, socks, long pants, long-sleeved shirt), apply insect repellent for mosquitos, repair or replace screens with tears in them, and eliminate all sources of standing water. Some of these approaches may seem extreme, so the Illinois Department of Health offers a few more options that are simpler.

The IDPH mentions trying insect light electrocutors, using mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors or a screened in structure, emptying containers with standing water once a week, keeping ditches and culverts free of clutter so water can drain easier, and cleaning clogged roof gutters. Most importantly, try to eliminate as much standing water as possible. For more ideas on how to prevent mosquitos from the IDPH, check out their FAQ page about mosquitos on their website.

If you do happen to get a mosquito bite, there are ways to treat it. The CDC suggests the following treatment method. First, wash the area with soap and water. Then, apply an ice pack for 10 minutes to reduce swelling and itching. Next, reduce the itch response by applying a mixture of baking soda and water. Finally, use an over-the-counter anti-itch or antihistamine cream to relieve itching. Be sure to follow the product label directions.

Over 200 types of mosquitos live in the continental United States and US Territories, but fortunately only 12 types spread germs that could make you sick. Mosquito-borne disease is rare in Illinois. There have been cases of the West Nile Virus from mosquitos in Illinois, which is the most common mosquito-borne disease in the continental United States. Malaria was common in the United States in the 20th century. 

A mosquito transfers disease by taking blood from one person or animal then transferring the germs to the next person or animal in their next bite. You can’t tell what mosquitos are carrying germs or not, so it is important to try to avoid a mosquito bite if possible. It is good to know that many of our small towns are working to fight against mosquitos. Regardless, it is important to know easy mosquito prevention techniques to help stay protected.

Chloe Scroggins
Correspondent, Columnist

Chloe Scroggins was a Mail Correspondent covering the Olympia communities starting in March of 2021, and was the Mail Agriculture Columnist from August 2021 until July 2022. She is from Danvers, Illinois.