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Buzz off: Moths and Mosquitoes have become more problematic in Southwest Montana

Why they are here and how to prevent them
Posted at 8:51 AM, Jul 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-10 10:51:18-04

THREE FORKS - There has been a large increase in moths and mosquitoes in Gallatin County this summer. Dr. Robert Peterson has been out in the field studying these insects to give us a better understanding of what is going on.

Although prevalent, the moths in the area are just following their normal migration schedule and won’t be here for as long as we expected.

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Dr. Robert Peterson has been out in the field studying these insects to give us a better understanding of what is going on.

Peterson describes that: “They’re flying from the great plains to the Rocky Mountains above the tree lines where they spend the summer away from the heat and feed on the nectar of the flowers.”

Since they are making the journey up the Rockies, their time in the valley will be short-lived.

“We know that the moths can be annoying, they’re harmless, they don’t bite, they don’t feed on our clothing,’ says Peterson, ‘These are fairly good-sized moths that are just moving along. If you be patient, they’ll move along in just another week or so.”

While the moths are moving away from town, Peterson says the mosquitoes will not be going anywhere this summer because of all the rain and flooding Montana has received.

It’s been a wet year in this area and with increased moisture comes an increase in mosquitoes usually,” says Peterson.

The wetter land left behind by rain and flooding has made the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes.

“Flood water mosquitoes, we’ve had rains and those rains allow the water levels to rise which hatch eggs that are laid on the grass”

Cutting your grass regularly, and draining any standing water within your yard or surrounding areas can make a big difference in the mosquito population near you. Dru Zeiger, from Three Rivers Mosquito Control District says he’s been seeing hundreds of mosquitoes within their traps within the last couple of weeks.

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Dru Zeiger, from Three Rivers Mosquito Control District says he’s been seeing hundreds of mosquitoes within their traps within the last couple of weeks.

“These last two weeks, our numbers like out in the Clarkston area, upwards of 800 mosquitoes in a trap, pretty large increase,” said Zeiger.

There are also faster ways of eliminating mosquitoes in your area that the Three Rivers Mosquito Control District provides. They can also spray larva within your yard to prevent new swarms from popping up.

“We’ll blow the product about 35 feet across the standing water, it’s target specific, so it only kills mosquito larva, so this is our safest and least interfering way in controlling the numbers.”

Mosquitoes are still going to be prevalent throughout Montana for a while. There are many preventative measures you can take to minimize their impact. You can start by wearing long sleeves and pants, draining any still-standing water within your yard, and making sure your grass is cut. These are easy ways to minimize the number of mosquitoes near you this summer.