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Mosquitoes breeding in the Triad earlier than ever

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FORSYTH COUNTY, N.C. -- The Forsyth County Department of Public Health mosquito control monitors mosquito activity all year, but Vector Control Technician, Ryan Harrison says this year mosquitoes are out earlier than ever.

"Our Asian Tiger Mosquito population is already growing. This is the earliest year in 20 years of data collection that I've ever caught Asian Tiger Mosquitoes this early," Harrison said.

The Asian Tiger Mosquito is especially important because it is the one that can transmit the Zika virus. Mosquito control has about 30 traps around Forysth County. Harrison said the warmer than usual temperatures this year are probably the reason he has already found mosquito larva.

"It wasn't necessarily cold enough to kill a lot of the eggs off," Harrison explained. "Plus the warm temperatures of the water is allowing them to hatch early." 

This is why Harrison is urging homeowners to pay close attention to their properties and look for any standing water.

"Start it now let's go ahead and get the process started. Every week we gotta go out on our properties and dump out these containers and stuff that have water," he said.

Harrison said mosquitoes are most often found breeding in planters, drainage pipes, bird baths and toys. Harrison suggested buying mosquito dunk from your local hardware store and putting it inside drainage pipes to ensure mosquitoes can't breed.

Health departments around the Triad are always monitoring mosquitoes this time of year, but the state is not testing them for Zika virus because it is too complicated and costly. Instead, Harrison says the best way to make sure the virus does not spread, is to find mosquitoes and get rid of them, especially in and around people's homes.