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Warm, Wet Weather Has Chicago Area Residents Feeling The Itch

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Pamela Jones Pamela Jones
Pamela Jones serves as a general assignment reporter for CBS 2...
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CHICAGO (CBS) – All that standing water and summer warmth is leading to an increase in the number of mosquitoes and other bugs.

CBS 2’s Pamela Jones reports if bugs like mosquitoes are really beginning to bug you right now, you’re not alone.

“When you scratch, it doesn’t get a chance to grow skin because you’re scratching it away,” said Aliza Robinson.

The so-called nuisance mosquitoes don’t carry potentially dangerous West Nile, but thrive in large pools of stagnant water like lagoons and flooding are breeding like crazy. The wet weather is perfect for them.

“What happened is we had this very cold, wet spring. And with insects, everything seems to have shown up very abruptly,” said Doug Taron, curator of biology at the Notebaert Nature Museum. “All of a sudden, it was like somebody flipped a switch and everything showed up all at once.”

He says he’s even noticed a boom among butterflies.The white spot on a milkweed plant sign that Monarch Butterlies which were predicted to shrink in numbers this year – are actually on the rise.

“We’re seeing good egg laying by the females. We’re seeing more females than we’ve seen at this time of year the last couple of years,” said Doug Taron.

But experts say so far, populations of many of the crawling creatures are actually growing at a normal pace. The perception of a boom in bug numbers may have to do with recent warmer temperatures.

But the Chicago Department of Public Health says the kind that carry West Nile Virus are just beginning to surface. The agency says last week, it logged the first mosquitoes to test positive for the virus this season. Human cases probably won’t appear in Chicago until sometime around mid-July.

According to the CDC, Illinois is among seven states with mosquitoes testing positive for West Nile and a bird in Illinois tested positive may 29th.

Health experts suggest using insect repellent with the chemical deet.

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