Unusually wet weather this year has created the perfect conditions for mosquitoes, and parts of Grove are reportedly swarming with them.
Grove resident Ed Swafford, who resides in the Apache Springs development near the end of North Cherokee, said his house is surrounded by standing water and “thousands and thousands and thousands of mosquitoes.”
“You can hear them in the evening,” he said. “And you can see them – a four-foot high cloud of them by the tall grass.”
Swafford’s home sits in a low spot surrounded by wetlands.
He and his wife, Shirley, said there are lots of frogs and crawdads and snapping turtles in their yard as well.
“We don’t mind them,” Shirley said. “It’s the mosquitoes we want to get rid of.”
Swafford said he contacted the Delaware County Health Department to see if they could spray the area.
“We know if this is affecting us, it’s affecting other people in the area too,” Swafford said. “There are kids who ride their bikes around here and I worry about them. We need help.”
Swafford said the Health Department told him there was no money in the budget to spray for mosquitoes.
When the office of the Grove Sun Daily attempted to contact the Delaware County Health Department, we were referred to the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality, who referred us to the Ottawa County Health Department, who informed us that it was the responsibility of the city.
City Manager Bruce Johnson said that, to his knowledge, the city has never sprayed for mosquitoes.
“Currently we don’t have that in the budget,” Johnson said. “But if it becomes a big enough problem we will certainly look into it.”
He said there are many communities that do spray for mosquitoes, and that the county could, indeed, spray within the corporate limits of Grove if it chose to do so and had the budget.
Though the mosquitoes that proliferate in wet weather are a nuisance, reports indicate that they are probably not as likely to be carriers of West Nile Virus.
According to a report, the Culex variety of mosquitoes, most often associated with West Nile Virus, breed in stagnant water and sludge in protected areas, and they tend to prefer drier weather.
A few cases of West Nile Virus have been identified this year in Oklahoma, but so far none of those cases have been in Delaware County.
West Nile Virus is spread when mosquitoes bite infected birds. It most commonly affects birds and equine animals such as horses and donkeys.
Area residents are urged to take precautions, such as emptying buckets, tarps, and other outdoor containers where water may collect. Bird baths should be emptied and washed weekly, and outdoor water bowls for pets should be changed daily.
For a full list of precautions visit http://entoplp.okstate.edu/mosquito/mosquito.html.