The arrival of spring in South Dakota means warmer weather and more outdoor activities. However, it also brings an increase in tick activity.
Summer is here, and so are the opportunities to enjoy the long days and warm weather. Ticks and mosquitoes share the outdoors with us, and there are things you can do to prevent bites from both.
While it’s true that in South Dakota most West Nile Virus cases occur during August, new human infections are detected well into September in most years.
Mosquito trapping efforts across the state in the last seven years showed that there are over 20 species of mosquitoes occurring in South Dakota, yet only two species dominate the surveillance data: Aedes vexans and Culex tarsalis.
During wet springs, tick populations tend to thrive in South Dakota. These parasitic arthropods require blood to fulfill their nutritional needs and commonly use humans as a host. Some ticks can also carry bacterial diseases that are a threat to human health.
With the very wet 2019 spring and recent rains, it inevitable that mosquito populations will be high this year. Although there are over 20 species of mosquitoes that call South Dakota home, there are really only two species that account for the majority of observed individuals.
In some areas of South Dakota, recent precipitation has led to an increase in mosquito activity. To reduce the chances of contracting West Nile Virus, it is important to understand the behavior of the mosquitos capable of vectoring it.
While being outside this week, I noticed a lot of small gnats flying around my legs and really bothering my dogs. I caught a few and identified them as eye gnats. Although this pest is considered a nuisance in most cases, it is capable of transmitting diseases and pathogens.