Simplified: There are more mosquitoes in Sioux Falls this week than have been seen in at any one point in least a decade, according to the city team trying to kill them. Here's what we know.

Why it matters

  • Sioux Falls has also seen more rain this year than it has in quite some time, and Environmental Health Manager Dominic Miller said even a half of a cup of standing water is enough to become a breeding ground for mosquitoes. And with the life cycle of a mosquito, it makes sense that we're seeing so many now, a few weeks after all of the rain and flooding.
  • The good news is the vast majority of mosquitoes are what Miller called "nuisance" mosquitoes – as in, just annoying and not carrying diseases. While there have been a few of the types of mosquitoes that could carry West Nile Virus, none of the ones in Sioux Falls have actually been carrying the virus.
  • The less good news is that the spike in demand for all types of mosquito repellent (and anti-itch creams) is leaving some retail shelves empty across the city. Jody Bell, director of sales and operations for Nyberg's Ace, said they've seen demand for those types of products increase "tenfold."
"We've done everything we can to keep inventory in stock," Bell said, noting that they're pulling from several different warehouses to bring more bug spray into town. "We're restocking daily."

What is the city doing about all this?

The city sets traps to monitor the amount of mosquitoes each summer, Miller added. This spring, there were weeks when those traps were completely empty. Last week, though, one trap alone had more than 4,600 mosquitoes – a number Miller estimates hasn't been seen in a decade.

Most of the time, the seasonal team that fights mosquitoes focuses on stopping them before they ever reach adulthood. But this week, the goal has shifted:

"We’re gonna utilize every single tool that we have to kill as many adult mosquitoes as possible," Miller said.

Those tools include:

  • Spraying the entire city with spray trucks,
  • Applying turf treatments to places like ball fields, the Levitt and city parks,
  • And thermal fogging, a process where people put on a "Ghostbusters"-style backpack and spray around a mist of heated-up chemicals. Like so:

What can I do?

A few things:

  • Wear long sleeves and pants if you're going to be out early in morning or late in the evening.
  • Make sure there's no standing water on your property.
  • Use bug spray – specifically containing DEET – if you are going outside.