Mosquito and fly populations have appeared in on-campus spaces repeatedly since the beginning of September. Large numbers of insects can hinder the student experience of outdoor events including Entra La Plaza, Homecoming and others.
Mafer Matta, junior biology major from Guatemala, complained about mosquitoes biting her arms and legs at the Entra La Plaza event in the campus mall on Sept. 30.
“This year has been the worst year because I don’t remember it being like this over the summer and for the fall semester,” Matta said. “Last year, I don’t remember there being any bugs. They should spray and kill them.”
Mosquitoes require standing water to best lay their eggs and reproduce. During the summer months this year, the record-breaking period of dryness meant flies and mosquitoes were not active until the first rainfall.
Scott Warren, the director of landscape and grounds for ACU, said the rainfall in early fall is to blame for the bug problem.
“We hit that pretty decent amount of rainfall there, end of August first of September, where I think the campus probably recorded a couple of three inches over a week and a half period or so,” Warren said. “A lot of Abilene saw similar rainfalls going through. Well, obviously the mosquitoes are going to explode.”
The mosquito and fly populations naturally increase in moist weather conditions and decrease in dryer conditions. Insects are active until the first freeze of the season which typically occurs in about the middle of November.
“In a lot of these big open lawn areas, there does not seem to be a lot of big issues there,” Warren said. “So I think the mosquito population exploded and is already regressing quite a bit because we have not had any issues at all at tailgates with mosquitoes at all.”
The ACU grounds department does not regulate the insect populations because they avoid using non-organic pesticides and the cost of traps is too high to cover the entire campus. Warren recommends using insect repellent and avoiding areas with heavy landscaping and shade where mosquitoes are most present.
“I know some people seem to be more attracted to the mosquito than others, but just using a proper mosquito repellent if you are noticing that you are getting bitten and it’s a bother,” Warren said. “Then at that point in time, just using a good insect repellent will take care of it.”