BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — All the rain this spring has put a damper on many outdoor activities and is raising concerns about a big increase in bug bites from ticks, mosquitoes and black flies.
The Erie County Department of Health is asking residents to dump water from planters, clean gutters, empty children's pools, and clear any standing water from their properties.
"This is all great weather for black flies, for mosquitoes, and for ticks. They are going to grow in large numbers," said Peter Tripi, Senior Public Health Sanitarian for the county health department.
Tripi is encouraging residents to fight ticks and mosquitoes one yard at a time.
It is feared all the standing water from excessive rain will make it easy for mosquitoes to breed - including mosquitoes that carry the West Nile virus.
Residents are asked to report any uncovered, un-maintained pools with stagnant water in their neighborhood because it could breed millions of mosquitoes.
Complaints can be called into the Erie Co. Department of Health at (716) 961-6800.
Delaware Pediatrics is reminding parents to closely check their children everyday for bug bites.
Dr. Christine Brown, MD said parents need to call a doctor if their children have suffered a bug bite and then experience pain/swelling in a joint or have trouble moving joints, come down with fevers and chills, and develop a loss of appetite.
Looking for ticks on your children is very important as deer ticks carrying Lyme Disease are known to be in WNY.
"Once a day at bath time, you need to run a comb through their hair. Check under their arm pits and down by their underwear. Ticks can be tiny," said Dr. Brown.
The doctor said it is important for kids to stay out of long grass/weeds and wear long-sleeve shirts, long pants and use a bug spray with DEET.
There are options to using chemicals, explained Dr. Brown, who said oil of lemon eucalyptus has been shown to be effective against keeping mosquitoes away.
As weather forecasts continue to predict more rain, experts expect the bug biting situation to get worse as evening temperatures get warmer and the problem bugs go looking for "blood meals" and places to lay their eggs.