Near-record rainfall leads to flood of mosquitoes in Reno County

RENO COUNTY, Kan. Near-record rainfall this spring leads to a record number of mosquitoes in Reno County.

The Reno County Health Department reports the highest number of mosquitoes it, and likely the state, has seen in the last decade.

Every year, health officials advise making sure you don't have standing water near your home to help avoid a mosquito problem. This year, it's especially worth the reminder.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment has been tracking the increased mosquito population for the past two months. Reports show that population increased by more than 2,000 percent since May.

Officials warn thousands of mosquitoes they trapped can transmit the West Nile Virus. KDHE is especially tracking Reno County's mosquito population closely due to the number of West Nile cases in the area in past years.

Nickerson resident Kerri Melton says she was diagnosed with West Nile last month.

"I was terrified. I mean, naturally, I had been through the worst as they said, and I had been really sick," she says. "But I know that people can die with West Nile, so I got extremely scared."

With standing water near her home, Melton says her doctor wasn't surprised with the diagnosis.

The Reno County Health Department is handing out free mosquito dunks to give residents the upper hand and prevent mosquitoes from maturing. KDHE officials say a contractor in the area will start spraying next week.