Mosquito fogging gets underway earlier than usual

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TEMPE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

Mosquito complaints have been on the rise in several parts of the Valley. So, Maricopa County crews have started fogging some neighborhoods even earlier than usual.

Warmer than normal temperatures, and moisture in the air are providing perfect breeding conditions for mosquitos.

The Valley saw a lot of rain during the Super bowl, then more rain in February, and now still more rain this month. All that adds up to conditions in which mosquitos thrive.

And things aren't expected to get better anytime soon. Officials in Maricopa County are seeing an increase in complaints: 120 already this week, compared with 96 from last week

The number of complaints has been the highest in Tempe and Tolleson, and that's where crews are beginning their fogging this week.

Mosquitos are more than just a nuisance, they're also a health concern since they can carry the West Nile virus. That virus killed 11 people in Arizona in 2014.

So far, though, only one mosquito captured has tested positive for the disease, and it was on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community near Tempe Town Lake. The County does not spray on reservation land.

The department sets 600 traps per week to monitor mosquito populations, so that will show whether these numbers increase after this week's rain. The traps are attached to dry ice, which attracts the mosquitos.

A truck equipped with a fogging machine called the Dynajet L30 drives up and down infested areas late at night.

The fogging in Tempe and Tolleson will be done between midnight and 5 a.m. Friday morning. In Tempe, it will take place between Baseline and Guadalupe, and Rural and McClintock. In Tolleson, it will take place between Lower Buckeye and Broadway, and 91st Avenue and 99th Avenue.

Advice from the pros? Since stagnant water left after rain can increase mosquito activity, try to make sure your yard stays as dry as possible.

-Drain animal watering troughs, bird baths, and pet watering dishes weekly, if not more often.

-Repair any water leaks, sprinkler systems or coolers that cause water to pool.

-Fill in low spots, control the irrigation in your yard or pastures, and drain standing water from buckets and other containers that can collect water on your property.

-Remove vegetation and floating debris in and around ponds and stagnant swimming pools.

-You can also add mosquito-eating fish called gambusias. The fish are available free of charge from the Vector Control office. Call at 602-506-0700 to schedule a pickup time.

West Nile virus hotline: 602 506-0700

Website: www.maricopa.gov/wnv

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