The Weekly Newspaper serving the citizens of Morenci, Mich., Fayette, Ohio, and surrounding areas.

  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.carry.casket
    CARRYING—Riley Terry (blue jacket) and Mason Vaughn lead the way, carrying an empty casket outside to the hearse waiting at the curb. Morenci juniors and seniors visited Eagle Funeral Home last week to learn about the role of a funeral director and to understand the process of arranging for a funeral.
  • Front.lift
    MORENCI student Dalton McCowan puts everything into a dead lift attempt Saturday morning during the Wyseguy Push/Pull event. Lifters helped raise more than $1,600 for the family of the late Devin Wyse, a former Morenci power-lifter who graduated last year. Commemorative T-shirts are still available by contacting teacher Dan Hoffman.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.F.office
    NEW OFFICES—Fayette village administrator Steve Blue speaks with tax administrator Genna Biddix at the new front desk of the village office. Village council members voted to use budgeted renovation funds targeted for the old office and instead buy the vacant bank building on the corner of Main and Fayette streets. The old office was sold to Sherwood State Bank. When everything is put into place in the spacious new village office, an open house will be scheduled. Council member David Wheeler donated all of his time needed to make changes in the bank interior to fit the Village’s needs.

Floodwater mosquitoes are here 2007.09.12

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Not all mosquitoes are created equal.

Just step outside and meet up with a species that hasn’t shown its face—nor its sting—much recently, and certainly not in the abundance we’re seeing now.

Of the 60 species of mosquitoes that live in Michigan, a few belong to the class known as floodwater mosquitoes. Remember the heavy rains of August? The fruit of that flooding has arrived.

Dr. Edward Walker, a Michigan State University professor who studies mosquito biology and control, said the most common floodwater species in this area are Aedes vexan and Aedes trivittatus.

“Both of those are on the wing now in very large numbers,” Walker said. “It’s all a consequence of the rainfall patterns we’ve had in August.”

mosquito1.jpg

Trivittatus is the smaller of the two and Walker guesses that’s the one irritating

people in this area. Many species appear a little wishy-washy about their dinner; not so with the aggressive trivittatus.

“They just hone right in and let you have it,” he said. “There’s no reticence.”

Trivittatus are different from other common species in the area in that they seem to have no hesitation in working during the sunlight, even in a breeze.

They attack in a swarm-like manner and their bite is more painful and irritating.

There’s no question about it; this is no ordinary mosquito.

Life cycle

Floodwater mosquitoes don’t actually lay their eggs in water. The females seek out areas expected to be flooded and lay eggs in the soil.

Scientists suspect that several environmental cues are at play, the most important one probably being the moisture of the subsoil.

“Females are very good at finding suitable habitat,” Walker said, noting that the process isn’t yet understood.

Perhaps odors or microbial activity is at play, he suggested.

Eggs can remain dormant in the soil for years until the right combination of flooding and temperature arrives. Then look out.

“They don’t take long to hatch in the heat that we’ve been having,” Walker said. “It can happen within a week’s time. They’re development rate is very, very fast. They seem to appear suddenly.”

That’s what happened in this area right around Labor Day.

Outlook

The floodwater mosquitoes don’t arrive until the rains arrive, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be gone after their two-week life is over. More rain can lead to another hatch.

According to the Michigan Mosquito Control Association, several generations may hatch each summer, depending on rainfall.

The inch and a quarter of rain that fell this weekend could ensure that trivittatus season is far from over.

Floodplains, ditches, tire tracks, the hoof print of a cow—habitat for floodwater mosquitoes can be widespread.

“Even small spots that look innocuous can produce thousands of them,” Walker said.

The other common floodwater species, vexans, migrate long distances from their breeding habitat.

“They actually move toward lighted horizons and settled areas,” he said. “It’s the kind of year that they’re going to be a nuisance at high school football games.”

Late-season hatches are still possible, Walker said, and the tail end of the season could persist into October. He recalls a rare season when his children were vexed by mosquitoes on Halloween.

Floodwater mosquitoes can be a carrier of the West Nile Virus, Walker said, but they aren’t good transmitters. Although the virus may be present in a mosquito’s body, it doesn’t readily spit it back out.

There are much more important transmitters of West Nile, he said, but that isn’t the case for dog heartworm. Trivittatus is the chief carrier of the heartworm larva.

After a summer almost free of the pests, humans and mosquitoes are finally becoming re-acquainted. And it’s no tame mosquito at play. These guys go right for the face.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2016