PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Residents in the Portland area may want to keep their bug spray handy this summer, since the Multnomah County Health Department says it will be one of the worst mosquito seasons to date.
Mosquito season typically peaks in the summer, but with Portland’s unseasonably warm spring with record-breaking temperatures, Multnomah County officials are seeing “floodwater” mosquitoes develop at breakneck speed.
“We’ve had a bit of an early season snow melt, which then comes down through the rivers, causes them to rise, flooding them — and then this is where the floodwater mosquito comes from,” Levi Zahn, supervisor for the Multnomah County’s Vector Control and Code Enforcement Program said. “That warm temperature also impacts the mosquito’s life cycle where they’re able to develop faster because it’s warmer out.”
However, the county reports these insects are primarily “nuisance mosquitoes” that aren’t known to spread viruses. The county additionally says that these mosquitoes emerge along the Columbia and Willamette Rivers, but other species can be found in backyards.
Zahn advises residents to exercise caution at sunrise or sunset when floodwater mosquitoes are most active. He also encourages individuals with man-made water containers in their backyards to regularly dump them out to disrupt the “container-breeding mosquito” life cycle.
“Please do wear long sleeves, long pants and wear personal repellents,” Zahn added. “Those are the absolute best ways that [people] can help protect themselves and help reduce mosquito populations within the county and in general.”
Read more of the county’s tips on mosquito-bite prevention here.
Since the beginning of May, Vector Control will use helicopters to aerially treat mosquitos using larvicides in uninhabited areas of the county. This treatment will continue through the end of August.
If Multnomah County continues its trend of warm weather with little-to-no rainfall, the county says mosquito populations could drop to even lower than last year’s numbers.