Short walks around St. Olaf’s campus have been disrupted by swarms of mosquitoes that are creating uncomfortable and itchy bites. Mosquitoes usually cause issues during mid-summer. An unusually dry season and an increase in rainfall during the past few weeks has caused mosquito populations to regenerate.
“We do spray the outside of the residence halls in late August for ‘fall invaders’ that like to live in the limestone,” said Pamela McDowell, Associate Dean of Students for Residence Life, in an email to The Olaf Messenger. “We are not spraying the grass for mosquitoes and will rely on bats and birds that prey on mosquitoes.”
Mosquitoes are usually more of an annoyance to humans than a threat. However, the Metropolitan Mosquito Control District has found the West Nile Virus is increasingly present in mosquitoes in the Twin Cities, covering Ramsey, Hennepin, Dakota, and Anoka counties. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cites that 1 in 5 people infected with the West Nile Virus experience mild symptoms, including a fever, while 1 in 150 people develop more severe symptoms.
Until the weather becomes cooler, mosquitoes will continue to thrive in the hot and humid weather. The CDC recommends wearing long clothing or applying bug spray to prevent mosquito bites in the meantime.