By John Toole
---- — Communities throughout Southern New Hampshire already are trying to control mosquito populations.
They’re mostly a nuisance now, not the health threat they will pose later this summer.
But pest control contractors say they are treating larval populations in at least nine communities including Salem, Derry, Londonderry, Plaistow, Sandown, Newton, Kingston, Hampstead and Pelham.
University of New Hampshire entomologist Alan Eaton said the winter snowpack favored the mosquitoes, but cooler, drier conditions are working against them — though that can change with the weather.
“The numbers haven’t been as big as they would have been,” Eaton said.
Still, the potential for trouble exists, especially with more rain.
“We’re seeing high numbers in the water,” Dragon Mosquito Control owner Sarah MacGregor said. “There is a pretty healthy spring population of mosquitoes.”
People shouldn’t worry about a mosquito bite now, but experts say repellants might help.
“I wouldn’t be too concerned about mosquitoes right now,” Eaton said. “I wouldn’t be worried about diseases at all.”
West Nile virus and Eastern equine encephalitis will become a worry during the summer.
“The real threat will be the end of July and into August, all the way to the end of October,” said Michael Morrison, an entomologist with Municipal Pest Management Services Inc.
There was one human case of West Nile virus last year. Three animals tested positive for EEE last year, but there were no human cases.
Ticks that can carry Lyme disease are active now, so that is a health concern.
“They are active,” Eaton said. “Any time anyone goes outside, they should check. If they are outside today, tonight they should check themselves for ticks.”
Tick activity should peak during May and June, he said.
“They’re always bad,” Morrison said. “This is a dangerous time of year.”