Mosquito season arrives with hot, humid weekend weather

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start of summer. The hot and humid weather over this year's Memorial Day weekend also kicked off mosquito season in Chicago.

While some mosquito bites will only itch, others can carry potentially dangerous illnesses like West Nile virus, which can be fatal.

Mark Clifton, executive director at the North Shore Mosquito Abatement district, said they've been checking for pooling water since April, and are now stepping up those efforts considerably.

"All that rain we saw earlier generated a lot of mosquitos so our main concern now is treating for those mosquitos, keeping the population tolerable," he said.

Clifton's agency is also responsible for collecting mosquito samples and testing them for the West Nile Virus, which killed eight people in 2017 according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

"From now till early in September there's always a concern for West Nile, which peaks in July," Clifton said.

And while local mosquito abatement districts are responsible for treating public areas, homeowners are being encouraged to be proactive.

Mosquito control companies offer spraying which lasts two to three weeks, but Mosquito Joe franchise owner Jim Dunbar said looking for and eliminating even the smallest sources of standing water will considerably reduce the number of nuisance mosquitos most often responsible for ruining those summer barbecues. Dunbar said his crews look for anything more than a bottle cap of water.

"One bottle cap of water can house 300 eggs, believe it or not," he said. "One of the worst culprits are tires. If you have a tire swing, drill holes into the bottom. It's the perfect breeding ground for mosquitos."

For those with mosquito allergies, wearing long sleeves and pants and using a mosquito repellent with DEET in it is also encouraged.
Copyright © 2020 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.