A warm winter and an anticipated dry summer means fewer mosquitoes but more ticks and other insects, according to the Summit County's Mosquito Abatement team.

Manager of the Summit County Mosquito District John Jaussi said the dry summer could be helpful in the fight against mosquitoes and West Nile virus.

"Less water will mean we will have an easier summer when it comes to bugs," Jaussi said. "The places we see the most mosquitoes are in the Swaner Nature Preserve, Old Ranch Road and along Interstate 80 near Jeremy Ranch because the stream that runs near there laps onto the bank and forms small pools. But that probably won't happen this year because of our low stream flow."

Jaussi said despite the anticipated low mosquito numbers, they are still going to closely monitor the insects for West Nile virus and he recommends that residents continue to take precautions from getting bitten.

"Right now, we are trying to collect adult mosquitoes and see what is out there," he said. "Tarsalis mosquitoes [the kind the carries West Nile virus] are the second most abundant mosquitoes in Summit County. They are very fast, bite often and mostly come out in the evening."

While the mosquito population may be down, the tick population is anticipated to increase.

University of Utah Extension Agent for Summit County Sterling Banks said he estimates that Summit County will experience a larger tick population compared to previous years.


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"All we know right now is that because of the dry winter and warm, dry spring, we have the potential for a lot more ticks," he said. "Overall, I think we will be seeing a lot more insects this summer because we won't have as many cold days in the spring that kills the larva."

Warmer weather may also increase the amount of grass and sage brush in the area, a favored habitat of ticks, Banks said.

"To help mitigate the spread of insects, residents can make sure they clear all of the old grass and debris in their yards so that insects cannot hide there," he said.

Banks said it was still too soon to anticipate if Lyme disease would be an issue this summer and Jaussi agreed, also adding that it has been three years since a case of West Nile virus was found in Summit County and they are hoping it stays that way.

For more information on West Nile Virus and how to stay safe visit www.summitcountyhealth.org/residents/west-nile-virus-prevention . For more information on the Summit County Mosquito Abatement District visit http://www.summitmosquito.org .