BOISE -- Mosquitoes can not only be annoying, they can also carry potentially deadly illnesses.
Case in point: the summer of 2006 when 23 people in Idaho died in connection with the West Nile virus. Experts say while 2012's wet spring doesn't guarantee a bumper crop of 'skeeters' here Idaho, they caution folks to be on the lookout.
At least one case of West Nile Virus has already shown up in Pennsylvania. Now, national experts say the East Coast could see its worst mosquito season in decades due to 2012's unusual weather patterns.
Will mosquitos 'suck' here in Idaho?
According to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, it may be difficult to predict a potential rise in cases of West Nile virus here in Idaho. However, department spokesman Tom Shanahan says everyone should be prepared to deal with an outbreak because conditions could be favorable for a rise in the mosquito population.
West Nile virus is a disease spread by mosquitoes, causing illness, and in some cases death. In 2006, Idaho had a huge outbreak of the West Nile virus. Over 1,000 cases were reported, and 23 people died.
"If the weather conditions are right, we could see a large population of mosquitoes like we did in 2006," said Shanahan.
Lori Delehanty studies mosquito samples collected around Ada County to determine if they test positive for West Nile virus. She says so far they have not had any cases, but says we've had more rain this spring than the past six springs, including 2006.
"We've had 7.92 inches of rain thus far this year, so that is a good indication that mosquito populations could be higher, especially if the temperatures begin to rise," said Delehanty.
But Delehanty also says that last week's cooler weather pattern forced mosquito populations to decline slightly. She says large populations of mosquitoes can be found near rivers here in the Treasure Valley, especially as they recede. Delhanty also says that standing-water in people's backyards can become a huge breeding ground for skeeters
Not all mosquitoes carry West Nile virus
However, the CDC has outlined at least 64 species here in the United States that do carry the disease.
Yet, mosquito experts say only one species here in the Treasure Valley is on that list.
One word of advice from those officials we talked with -- get rid of standing water around your house and make sure you're covered up when you going outside for long periods of time to protect against the bite of this savage insect. Ada County Mosquito Abatement is watching hundreds of mosquito traps and checking for West Nile virus. Mosquito 'season' usually runs from June through September.