You might be surprised that the most dangerous creature on earth can be found in Idaho. They’re not large. They’re not ferocious. But they are about to be active again across the state.
The creatures we are talking about are mosquitoes. According to the Ada County Mosquito Abatement District (ACMAD), there are about 175 species of mosquitoes in the United States and 50 of those species call our region of Idaho home. These creepy crawlies really like temperatures above 80 degrees, but will come out of hibernation once temperatures get above 50.
This spring has been annoyingly cool, but according to Mosquito Max mosquito season in the lower half of Idaho begins in late April, which is right around the corner.
Mosquitoes Are the Deadliest Creatures In the World
It’s estimated that mosquitoes are responsible for at least 700,000 deaths a year and it’s because they are carriers of all sorts of nasty diseases that can be transmitted to humans. Malaria, Zika and West Nile Virus, just to name a few. According to Pfizer, 600,000 of those deaths are due to Malaria.
While you don’t hear of people contracting Malaria or Zika in Idaho, West Nile Virus is in the news every summer. The ACMAD explains that the virus was first detected in Ada County in 2005 and the following year, we led the nation for the most reported cases.
According to the CDC, 8 out of 10 people who contract the West Nile virus will likely be unaware of it. Some may experience unpleasant symptoms like fever, vomiting/diarrhea and fatigue. About 1 in 150 will develop symptoms that can affect the central nervous system. We’re talking about things like encephalitis or meningitis. Those who develop nervous system symptoms could die.
CDC data shows that Idaho has reported 1,403 human cases of West Nile Virus since 1999. 250 of those have been neuroinvasive. Idaho’s most recent West Nile Virus death was in 2021. The man contracted the virus in Ada County.
Not all mosquitoes are West Nile vectors. ACMAD says six species in our area are and two of them are primary vectors.
How to Protect Yourself from Mosquitoes
Mosquitos need aquatic environments to grow from larva into adults, so trying to eliminate standing from your property is a good place to start. The ACMAD offers these tips to protect yourself from mosquitoes.