West Nile threat doesn't end with summer

Published: Sep. 26, 2017 at 11:28 PM CDT
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After a long stretch of dry weather, much of Kansas is seeing rain and cooler temperatures. But in the early stages of fall, a dangerous disease that many people associate with summer could still get worse.

Tuesday, the state health department confirmed four new cases of West Nile Virus in Kansas, bringing the total number of confirmed cases this year to 14. These new cases are reported in Pratt, Scott, Shawnee and Wallace counties.

With the rain comes the bugs, says pest control expert Tim Wallace. He says in just the past two weeks, his company, Germadic Pest Control, is again starting to see more calls about mosquitoes. This comes despite seeing smaller numbers earlier in the summer.

"I wouldn't be surprised to see the mosquitoes again this year through November," Wallace says.

The cool weather may play a part in letting our guard down, but Wallace says it's not cool enough to keep mosquitoes at bay.

"Fifty degrees. That's the magic number, though," Wallace says. "I need to get to 50 degrees, and I'll finally stop seeing those mosquitoes coming out every night."

That mark must be sustained. An overnight low of 50 degrees isn't enough to get rid of the pests.

"If I get a cool spurt of 50 degrees, but then it warms back up and it rains, here come mosquitoes right back out again," Wallace says.

It was this time last year when Eyewitness News

"You start forgetting. You start thinking, 'Oh, we are so close. Here it is. We are almost done, and I don't need to worry about the repellent,'" Wallace says. "it's almost this time of the year when we need to be the most cautious."