West Des Moines Starts Seasonal Fight Against Mosquitoes


The City of West Des Moines is starting to spray for mosquitoes. (WHO-HD)

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WEST DES MOINES, Iowa  --  It's a Memorial Day weekend that feels more like the Fourth of July.  The heat and humidity, mixed with some recent rain, is making it a perfect time for mosquitoes.

“Well it's just so surprising how fast they came up a couple of weeks ago. We didn't seem to have that much rain, and suddenly we're covered with mosquitoes. I had so many bug bites on my legs last week after standing out in the yard,” said West Des Moines resident Suzanne Graham.

Graham says tending her garden on Memorial Day weekend hasn't been quite as bad, but if any storms appear, the record heat would make the metro mosquito heaven.

“They'll just pop right back up once we get more rain, and the humidity right now, it's just....it's going to make them explode,” said Graham.

The man on the mission to stop that from happening is Bret Hodne, Public Services Director for the City of West Des Moines.  His crews started spraying for mosquitoes on Saturday night.

“We typically try and hit areas where, particularly during the holiday season, we have large gatherings of people, or in our park system,” said Hodne.

Trucks equipped with sprayers hit the vegetation, and helicopters armed with larvicide pellets will drop their payload into standing water; but when it comes to residential areas, especially backyards, it's up to residents to be the tip of the bug-killing spear.

“These UV mister machines don’t get into people's backyards, so then it becomes very challenging, and that’s where the members of the public can really help us by making sure there's not standing water of any kind. Water in baby pools or tires or any place water stands, it’s a mosquito breeding ground,” said Hodne.

Hodne says a typical two-night spray costs about $2,500. The city will be spraying around every summer holiday this year.


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