More sweltering and less swatting. That's the trade off Tulsa gets so far this summer. The mosquito population is down. And local health officials say we owe it all these hot, dry days.
KOTV's Glenda Silvey says Tulsa County's mosquito control trucks are making their usual runs, but this summer is unusual in terms of mosquito problems. John Zima with the Tulsa City-County Health Department, "We're behind on our rain by several inches and we didn't have our normal large floods so we're really slow this year on mosquito complaints and it's not too bad out there."
Tulsa's City County Health Department fills its two trucks with organic pesticide that lasts about two hours after its sprayed. It's expensive, one drum costs about $2,000. Trucks spray in the evening, focusing first on areas with the most complaints. "With only two trucks and covering the whole city and county, you're lucky to get sprayed once a month, basically."
Zima says to help prevent mosquitoes, homeowners should eliminate dirty gutters, leaky pipe joints, old tires, tin cans and other containers and tree stumps. Also, drain and clean boats, recycling bins, plant saucers and watering troughs. And although birdbaths are lovely, they're a prime-breeding medium for mosquitoes, so they should be cleaned daily. So should your pet's watering and food dishes, which also attract them. Zima says mosquitoes love the shrubbery and plants surrounding most yards, especially if they need weeding, so keep them cut back to deter bugs. And mosquitoes love kiddie pools almost as much as the kiddies do.
The highest number of mosquito complaints is coming from East Tulsa, Zima says, mainly because of the high number of flood retention ponds in that area. Areas near the River also report high numbers. Lou Gribin says mosquitoes disrupt his walks, but has a remedy. "Just swat them with a towel." Zima says if the heat holds out, mosquitoes won't. He says they can't stand being dry, out in the sun. At least some comfort to humans as we, also, try to escape the heat. Zima adds that bats and birds do little to control mosquitoes, which far outnumber their predators.
He also says fall rains can also create a second crop of mosquitoes in autumn. If you live in Tulsa and have problems with mosquitoes in your neighorhood, you call the mosquito complaint hotline at 595-4219.