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Rain keeping Wis. mosquitoes at bay

Published On: Jul 01 2013 02:50:32 PM CDT   Updated On: Jul 08 2013 11:13:18 AM CDT

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -

It might seem counterintuitive, but the constant rain across southern Wisconsin has kept this year's mosquito crop at bay.

The storms have flooded roads, soaked basements and shredded Little League schedules. But instead of a bumper crop of mosquitoes, the Wisconsin State Journal reported, the repeated soakings keep washing away the stagnant water that the blood-suckers need to breed and mature. That's kept their numbers at tolerable levels.

"There are years when we get so much rain that we literally flush them out of their typical breeding sites," University of Wisconsin-Madison entomologist Phil Pellitteri told the newspaper. "You need 10 to 12 days of standing water to push mosquitoes in the summer. If you get excess amount of rain, you flush them out and they never get going."

Last summer's drought may have played a role in slowing this year's crop, too, he said. Mosquitoes had little or no standing water in which to lay eggs, he said.

"It's all about temporary water, it's all about dormant eggs," he told the newspaper.

Northern Wisconsin, meanwhile, is battling a large outbreak of mosquitoes, Pellitteri said. But that's typical for this time of year.

"I don't think it's normal in this climate to go out at dusk and not get chased into the house (by mosquitoes)," Pellitteri said. "It's what you expect."

And southern Wisconsin residents might still be in for plenty of swatting and scratching. If all the standing rainwater becomes stagnant, the region could see more mosquitoes later this summer.

"If that water dries up, they're dead," Pellitteri told The Associated Press in a telephone interview on Monday. "If that water still sits there, we'll pay for it."