Heavy rains great news for mosquitoes

    After a dry winter this year, spring has left the region soggier than usual.

    Heavy rains this month have helped get precipitation levels in the region back on track for the year. But one of the consequences of all that rain could be better conditions for West Nile virus. (Photo: Flickr/James Jordan)

    Listen:

    [audio:090612kgspray.mp3]

    In the first quarter of this year, Pennsylvania was about 50 to 70 percent below its normal rainfall amount. Alex Sosnowski is a senior meteorologist with accuweather.com. He says the state has since caught up.

    Sosnowski: Rainfall has actually returned to fairly close to normal. We were running a bit behind normal over the wintertime and the first part of the spring, but recent rainfall now in the past couple of weeks has put us close to normal for the year.

    But all that rain being concentrated on the cusp of summer means potentially more standing water during mosquito breeding times. Teresa Candori is a spokesperson for the state Department of Environmental Protection.

    Candori: Rain on its own is not necessarily dangerous. What’s dangerous is when you have these wading pools or buckets or tires sitting around with pools of standing water and those are the breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

    And where there’s mosquitoes, there’s the risk for West Nile virus. One bird has tested positive for West Nile in Pennsylvania, but no human cases have been detected so far. Spraying has begun is some counties around the state, but does go on while it’s raining because the insecticide will wash away.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.