ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – People in Bernalillo County are spending the summer with a lot more mosquitoes this year.
City and county workers can spray areas to help kill them off, but residents in one neighborhood say they were told they’re in a “no spray” zone.
People can call 311 to ask workers not to spray near their home to kill off mosquitoes, which also means no spraying for their neighbors.
“Our trapping numbers are probably three to four times higher than what we were seeing at this point last year,” said Dr. Paul Smith with the City of Albuquerque Environmental Health Department.
He estimated the water level at the Rio Grande is at its highest during springtime in about 10 years, which has sparked an increase in mosquitoes.
“With that much water coming down into the valley, it has spilled into the Bosque area out of the main channel for the river and that’s creating standing water that’s allowing for significant mosquito breeding,” Dr. Smith said.
Residents in the Western Meadows Neighborhood Association near Rio Grande and Alameda called 311 to ask the county to spray to kill mosquitoes.
However, the residents said the county said no because someone else in the area called asking the county not to spray.
A “no spray” request means workers won’t spray within 1,000 feet of that property.
Smith said workers call people on the “no spray” list each year to verify that they still live there and still don’t want any spraying to control the mosquito population.
“We will have citizens who call in. It’s mainly for protection of bee colonies,” Dr. Smith said.
Western Meadows Neighborhood Pres. Mike Langner said he understands the dilemma.
“We don’t want the mosquitoes. We do want the pollinators,” Langner said.
He said he had West Nile Virus a few years back and showed KRQE News 13 the precautions he takes to protect against mosquitoes.
He pointed out a “mosquito machine.”
“It burns propane,” he said. “It makes carbon dioxide and water vapor. Mosquitoes think it’s a person’s breath. It’s killer on mosquitoes, very effective.”
He also uses Mosquito Dunks to put in standing water to prevent breeding.
Experts say the high number of mosquitoes will likely continue through the summer, especially if we have a strong monsoon season.