KAYSVILLE -- Mosquitoes are expected to be airborne this month, and abatement crews in Weber and Davis counties are already applying measures in an attempt to contain the spread of the annoying, biting insects.
"We are bracing for a pretty busy spring," said Gary Hatch, director of the Davis County Mosquito Abatement District.
Because of the high amount of snow in the valley this year, there is likely to be increased pooling and puddling as temperatures warm, creating an environment in which the initial wave of spring mosquitoes could be pretty heavy, Hatch said.
"With temperatures reaching 55 to 60 degrees, they are going to be coming out of (winter) hibernation," he said of the mosquito population that has lain dormant in ponds and sewer systems over the winter.
Temperatures turning warm and then hot quickly, Hatch said, can further accelerate the hatching process.
The first hatch of mosquitoes could be as early as the middle of this month, he said.
Working in the abatement crew's favor is the fact the Top of Utah is coming off winter in which there were cold temperatures, Hatch said. Those cold temps tend to reduce the survival rate of wintering mosquitoes.
This year, county mosquito-abatement crews are also concerned with what the West Nile virus could bring to the area, based on the large number of confirmed human cases of West Nile occurring in surrounding states last spring and summer.
Utah had only five confirmed human cases of West Nile, while Texas had 1,739 cases, Arizona had 125 and California had 451, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
"(West Nile) is a bird disease," Hatch said, so it is a virus that ebbs and flows depending on the bird population.
For that reason, crews will carefully be monitoring that situation, he said.
In 2012, the county had one mosquito pool test positive for West Nile virus, Hatch said.
Weber County Mosquito Abatement District Interim Director Keith Hill said the valleys did get more snow this winter than the previous winter.
"We are going to have a busy year. It is definitely not a drought situation," he said. "We have had some pretty good storms."
Weber County mosquito-abatement crews won't begin treatments or spraying until Friday. One of their first areas of focus will be wooded areas along rivers.
The county will also be closely monitoring its test traps for West Nile virus.
In an effort to get ahead of the season, Davis County crews are already treating tree holes, Hatch said.
Because of the relatively low snowpack in the mountains, officials anticipate most of the mosquito fighting may take place earlier in the spring.
A heavy mountain runoff in May is not in the forecast at this time, said Davis County Public Works Director Kirk Schmalz, who oversees flood control for the county.