More mosquitoes expected on lakes this summer, health experts say

After a mild winter and spring flooding, health experts says you may notice more mosquitoes this summer. That’s why the Kentucky Department of Agriculture is taking steps to prevent the pests from biting you.

Waitresses Carly Inman and Tara Ford spend their day by the water, working at the restaurant in the Kuttawa Harbor Marina.

"I know I’ve gotten eaten up compared to years before. Usually I’m not prone to mosquito bites," Ford said. 

The Kentucky Department of Agriculture has noticed an increase mosquito larvae in low land near lakes and rivers because of flooding.

"We don’t know right now if we’re going to see a significant number greater than previous years or not. That’s what they’re finding out," said Pennyrile District Health Department Director Charles Hiter.

Hiter says local health departments work with the state to monitor larvae on area water ways.

"It is very scary. If we don’t know something, it’s scary," Hiter said.

Hiter says the mosquitoes that carry Zika have not made their way into Kentucky, but it’s still best to take precautions.

If you have kiddy pools, birdbaths or watering pots — anything that can collect water — you don’t want to let the water sit for more than seven days. When you do pour it out, you don’t want to pour it in a spot that can create a puddle and attract even more mosquitoes.

Hiter also says don’t forget to put on your mosquito repellent. Read labels and check with your doctor to see what repellents are best for your kids. Put the insecticide permethrin on your clothing if your going outdoors. He also encourages you to put small mosquito nets over car seats and strollers to reduce bites for your children.

In the coming weeks, the state will put larvicides in lakes before eggs hatch, and workers will do some spraying to control the mosquito population. If you know of a problem spot, contact your local health department. 

For more information on what you can do and about the Zika virus, click here. 

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