DENVER — Debra Meglio wants to protect her grandchildren from mosquitoes, especially the kind that transmit West Nile virus.
While planning her family's Fourth of July celebration, she made several trips to the store to pick up a variety of repellents.
"These are mosquito wrist bands," she said. "I've gotten eight of them because I'm giving them to my grandchildren tonight."
The Green Valley Ranch grandmother also picked up sprays and lotions, citronella incense, and some special plants.
"I have lemon verbena, lemon mint, lemon thyme and lemon basil. It smells wonderful," she said, while rubbing her hands on some of the leaves.
Meglio told Denver7 that she also picked up two extra bug zappers, a second one for her deck and one for her neighbor.
"I heard it all during the night," she said. "And know you can see (the inside) is coated with mosquitoes."
Meglio said she's lived in Green Valley Ranch since 2015 and rarely had a mosquito issue. But this year is different, she said.
"It's incredible," she said. "I had family here over the weekend, and friends, and we couldn't stay outside."
Her neighbor Barbara Kelly said the mosquito problem is worse this year than in years past.
"They're voracious. They're just everywhere... They can carry a small child away, there are so many of them," she said, laughing.
Mike "Doc" Weissmann of Vector Disease Control International said Colorado's extended wet spring contributed to the number of mosquitoes we're seeing now.
"Most of them are just nuisance mosquitoes, but there are some Culex mosquitoes out there," he said.
Culex can carry the West Nile Virus.
Weissmann said none of the mosquitoes they've trapped so far have tested positive for West Nile virus, but he said residents still need to exercise caution, because the virus is out there.
In a press release issued earlier this week, the Weld County Department of Health and Environment said there have been no reported human cases of West Nile virus infection so far.
"The increasing hot weather and afternoon thundershowers create favorable conditions for the Culex mosquito that carries WNV," said Mark E. Wallace, the health department's executive director. "With the holiday weekend and other summer events, it's extremely important to avoid getting bit by mosquitoes."
Health officials recommend following the four Ds to prevent mosquito bites.
- Drain standing water
- Dusk & dawn: Limit outdoor activities during these times
- Deet is an effective ingredient in repellents. So are picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or para-methane-idiol
- Dress in long sleeves, pants and a hat in areas where mosquitoes are active