A new breed of mosquito is on the loose in Tulsa

Monday, August 16th 2004, 5:00 pm
By: News On 6

If you've thought there are more mosquito’s out in the daytime, you're right. There's a new breed of mosquito in Tulsa - that bites in the daytime - but is less likely to carry West Nile virus.

News on 6 reporter Emory Bryan has more on these hungry pests. John Baker is something of a human mosquito magnet. It's his job to keep track of mosquitoes in Tulsa County. Baker works for the health department. "We've got mosquitoes in there, a lot of them.” It doesn't take much to lure mosquitos. John uses a pail of water with horse manure in it - a small fan pulls them into the net.

The health department catches them to test for West Nile virus - but they've also noticed a different breed of mosquito in town - the Asian tiger mosquito - known for its bite, identified by black and white tiger stripes. "The thing about the Asian tiger is that it feeds in the daytime. It comes out at dawn, when the other mosquitoes are going in for the day, it's coming back out." That makes it all but immune to traditional spraying. The spray only works in the cool of the evening - and by then the Asian tiger is safely out of the way.

The only control is to eliminate breeding spots - which can be just about anything - an old tire is perfect, but mosquitoes aren't picky where they roost. “It's there; just most people don't recognize it.” The health department believes bad gutters cause most of the problems. Sagging gutters and clogged downspouts hold water - and it only takes a week for the thousands of mosquitoes to start hatching and start biting - now 24 hours a day.

The health department reports no human cases of West Nile this year.