Rain is not a blessing when it comes to the extra bugs
By Tim Leeds
North-central Montana is seeing the first significant accumulation of moisture it has received in several years and the bugs that come with it.
"Until it dries up, we're going to have mosquitoes around," Hill County sanitarian Clay Vincent said today.
The rain this month has created puddles and moist soil, a breeding ground for mosquitoes and gnats. Once the plant cover grows, out come the bugs.
"We get enough green grass and we get a lot of bugs out," Vincent said.
It shouldn't raise any major health concerns, he added.
"There is not any problem I know of except that they're creating a fairly large nuisance," Vincent said.
One sector of the community is benefiting, in a way. Local merchants are selling more bug spray than they have in years.
"I'm all out," Rob Everingham of Gary & Leo's IGA said. "I've heard that's kind of the whole thing throughout town."
"I'm even clearing stuff off the shelves that have been dusty on the shelves," said Brian Ruhkamp, manager of the Milk River Cooperative supply store, formerly Cenex Supply in Havre.
Steve Harr, manager of Kmart, said his store is selling a wide variety of repellents, including vanilla-based products and witch hazel. It's become difficult to find places to get more repellent, he said.
"We've always sold it, but not to the point where we've had to track it down and chase it to get it in," he said.
Everingham said Gary & Leo's is having the same problem.
"I've gone through all the back stock from last year," he said. "I'm just hoping on the warehouse having enough to keep me supplied for the summer."
Vincent said he expects the problem to lessen in a few weeks, once the moisture dries up. Hill County in the past has considered creating a mosquito district and spraying insecticide, but that generally creates more problems than the level of mosquitoes in Havre warrants, he said. Aside from the general smell and nuisance of large applications of insecticide, it can cause other problems like settling on the paint on vehicles.
"I think we just have to put up with this until they go away," Vincent said.
Meanwhile, bug-eating animals are getting a good meal.
"One of the main things we see around every year swallows, different kinds of birds, even bats they trim back these bugs a lot," he said.