Why We Set Traps
Three afternoons a week during the Months of June, July, August and September you will find a small crew of dedicated mosquito hunters out setting traps to lure and capture the mosquitoes of Utah County. This is not really an effective way to control mosquitoes, that is to trap them, but a way to understand what is in the area so we can act responsibly in managing the mosquito population. Mosquitoes are the deadliest animal on the face of the planet killing 750,000 people each year. It is not really the mosquito bite that kills you but the diseases that they transmit to you. Fortunately for us in Utah County we only have a few diseases to be concerned with. One of these is West Nile Virus.
Therefore, we trap. To find those mosquitoes that have the potential of carrying the virus and then test them. We use dry ice to attract the mosquitoes because CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) is the greatest attractant for mosquitoes. Carbon Dioxide is what dry ice is made of. Mosquitoes fly mostly at night, so we set the traps to be functioning from Dusk to dawn. This allows us to capture the mosquitoes when they are most active.
The traps are retrieved in the morning and then placed in a freezer to kill the mosquitoes. We then sort and count them by species. Those species that are vectors (carry the virus) are tested for the presence of West Nile Virus. If we find the WNV present in a mosquito pool, we target that area for spraying from ULV foggers mounted in trucks or from the air using a fixed wing aircraft. By doing this we target the areas that need the control and help protect the public.
So, when you see the plane flying along the edge of Utah Lake or hear the ULV trucks pass by your homes know that we are working to control the mosquito population and are working to keep you safe. We use this integrated pest management approach to protect all of us.