Spring 2019 has brought heavy rainfall to the Midwest.  According to the U.S. National Weather Service, the Chicagoland area has experienced record amounts of rainfall for the month of May, with 8.24” of rain falling at O’Hare Airport this month.

As a result of this heavy precipitation, there are many sources of standing water around our communities, which are prime mosquito breeding sources.  And as temperatures continue to rise, we expect multiple broods of floodwater mosquito species (Aedes vexans) to begin hatching from eggs that have overwintered.

What Surveillance Tells Us

Clarke maintains a network of nearly 250 mosquito traps across Illinois for monitoring mosquito populations and potential virus activity. Surveillance data is used by Clarke’s service operations and our customers to determine the need for and best timing of ULV spraying for adult mosquitoes.

Clarke’s surveillance network is being closely monitored for population spikes associated with the predicted brood hatch.  Clarke’s predictive modeling software is also indicating a population spike of floodwater mosquitoes will be reaching Chicagoland during the first two weeks of June 2019.

How to Eliminate Mosquito Breeding Sites

As Clarke and the communities we serve across Illinois prepare for an intense start to mosquito season, the single-most important thing that residents can do is eliminate all possible sources of standing water around their properties. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in water, which develop into mosquito larvae and emerge as adults over a period of several days.  By following these best practices at least every three days, together we can Fight the Bite:

  • Get rid of any water holding containers, such as old tires, tin cans, buckets, drums, or bottles
  • Fill in or drain any low places (puddles, ruts) in yard
  • Clean gutters periodically
  • Keep drains, ditches, and culverts clean of weeds and trash so water will drain properly
  • Cover trash containers to keep out rain water
  • Repair leaky pipes and outside faucets
  • Drain plastic wading pools and store them indoors when not in use
  • Toss water that’s accumulated in any outdoor toys
  • Make sure your backyard pool is properly cared for while on vacation
  • Fill in tree rot holes and hollow stumps that hold water with sand and concrete
  • Change the water in bird baths and plant pots or drip trays
  • Keep grass cut short and shrubbery well-trimmed around the house so adult mosquitoes will not hide there

In line with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations, residents should limit their potential exposure to mosquitoes by:

  • Avoiding outdoor activities at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Wearing long sleeves and long pants when mosquitoes are active.
  • Applying CDC-recommended mosquito repellent during daylight and evening hours. These include products with DEET, picaridin, IR-3535 and oil of lemon eucalyptus.
  • Keeping windows and garage doors closed, and fixing broken screens and doors to prevent mosquitoes from entering homes.

Use the Resident Hotline

Residents are also encouraged to report standing water sources and nuisance mosquito populations directly to Clarke, through our Resident Hotline.  This information is used by Clarke and our customers to identify and prioritize treatment areas in the communities we serve.  The Clarke Resident Hotline may be accessed online (click here), or by phone: 1-800-942-2555.