N.H. prepares for mosquito invasion

by Jeffrey Giuffrida | 6/21/96 5:00am

Students planning to spend time outside this summer might be in for some unpleasant company.

Because of heavy spring rainfall, officials in New Hampshire and Vermont are bracing for far more mosquitoes than normal.

"It is not summer as usual,'' Vermont Entomologist John Turmell said. "The entire area has seen more mosquitoes this year.''

Turmell said the large snowmelt and heavy April rainfall left pools of standing water, where mosquito larvae and pupae thrive. He said mosquitoes can breed anywhere water sits undisturbed.

"It could be something as simple as a hoof print, a boat, old tires, even a birdbath," he said.

People who work in the outdoors are already dealing with the onslaught.

Kevin Peterson, a representative of the Appalachian Trail Conference, said trail maintenance crews have complained about unusually high numbers of bites from mosquitoes and other insects.

"It's the mosquitoes and the black flies and the no-see-ums. It's one of the worst bug seasons we've had," he said.

To combat the insects, Vermont officials are using airplanes to spray troublesome areas with pesticide. The pesticide contains bacteria that kill mosquito larvae.

But Turmell said the mosquito invasion might diminish if summer brings drier weather. "As long as it dries up, they're not going to be a problem," he said.

But until drier weather comes, residents of New Hampshire and Vermont will have to wait the insects out.

"We just have to take what's out there and endure it," Peterson said.

Terry Jillson, office manager of the Hanover Water Company, denied a rumor that mosquitoes could reproduce in the Hanover Reservoir. She said the three local reservoirs are safe.

"We haven't had any reports about the mosquitoes," she said. "It's not a health hazard."

Turmell said that the risk of larvae entering public reservoirs is minimal.

"We don't usually see the larvae in lakes or reservoirs," he said. "And if there's fish in it, there's not a problem."