Oklahoma tornado: More mosquitoes expected after rains amid tornado debris

Experts say there will be more mosquitoes this year, but the outlook for West Nile virus is better.
by Robert Medley Published: May 27, 2013

A wetter spring is expected to produce more mosquitoes than in recent years, but that doesn't guarantee a greater risk of the deadly West Nile virus, experts say.

Oklahoma recorded 12 deaths from West Nile in 2012 and 177 cases of the virus, but the disease is cyclical. Typically, a bad year is not followed by a worse year for the disease, experts say.

Rick Grantham, an entomologist at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, said there are no other threats of disease from mosquitoes.

But plenty of the pests will be in the air because of warm, wet weather coupled with tornado debris, which makes a perfect breeding ground.

“For mosquitoes that breed in containers there could be an increase of the risk of more now,” Grantham said. “Instead of a single container in your backyard there are more possible potential breeding sites.”

Temperatures will be warmer and more rain is in the forecast, he said.

Mosquitoes are producing in central Oklahoma now, said Ray Ridlen, Oklahoma County extension agent.

“Anything that can hold water for five to six days can be a breeding ground for mosquitoes,” Ridlen said

Around home gardens and yards, and tornado debris, people should take precautions now, Ridlen said.

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by Robert Medley
Breaking News Reporter
Robert Medley has been a reporter for The Oklahoman since 1989, covering various news beats in the Oklahoma City metro area and in the Norman news bureau. He has been part of the breaking news team since 2008. A 1987 University of Oklahoma...
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