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

  • Snow.2
    FIRST SNOW—Heavy, wet flakes piled deep on tree branches—and windshields—as the area received its first significant snowfall of the season. “Usually it begins with a dusting or two,” said George Isobar, Morenci’s observer for the National Weather Service, “but this time it came with a vengeance.” By the end of the day Saturday, a little over four inches of snow was on the ground. Now comes the thaw with temperatures in the 40s and 50s for three days.
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    SKEWERS, gumdrops, and marshmallows are all that’s needed to create interesting shapes and designs for Layla McDowell Saturday at Stair District Library’s “Sculptamania!” Open House. The program featuring design games and materials is one part of a larger project funded by a $7,500 Curiosity Creates grant from Disney and the American Library Association. Additional photos are on page 7.
    Morenci marching band members took to the field Friday night dressed for Halloween during the Bulldog’s first playoff game. Morenci fans had a bit of a scare until the fourth quarter when the Bulldogs scored 30 points to leave Lenawee Christian School behind. Whiteford visits Morenci this Friday for the district championship game. From the left is Clayton Borton, Morgan Merillat and James O’Brien.
    DNA PUZZLE—Mitchell Storrs and Wyatt Mohr tackle a puzzle representing the structure of DNA. There’s only one correct way for all the pieces to fit. It’s one of the new materials that can be used in both biology and chemistry classes, said teacher Loretta Cox.
  • Front.tar.wide
    A TRAFFIC control worker stands in the middle of Morenci’s Main Street Tuesday morning, waiting for the next flow of vehicles to be let through from the west. The dusty gravel surface was sealed with a layer of tar, leaving only the application of paint for new striping. The project was completed in conjunction with county road commission work west of Morenci.
  • Front.pull
    JUNIORS Jazmin Smith and Trevor Corkle struggle against a team from the sophomore class Friday during the annual tug of war at the Homecoming Games pep rally. Even the seniors struggled against the sophomores who won the competition. At the main course of the day, the Bulldog football team struggled against Whiteford in a homecoming loss.
    YOUNG soccer players surived a chilly morning Saturday in Morenci’s PTO league. From the left is Emma Cordts, Wayne Corser, Carter and Levi Seitz, Briella York and Drew Joughin. Two more weeks of soccer remain for this season.
  • Front.ropes
    BOWEN BAUMGARTNER of Morenci makes his way across a rope bridge constructed by the Tecumseh Boy Scout troop Sunday at Lake Hudson Recreation Area. The bridge was one of many challenges, displays and games set up for the annual Youth Jamboree by the Michigan DNR. Additional photos on are the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.homecoming Court
    One of four senior candidates will be crowned the fall homecoming queen during half-time of this week’s Morenci-Whiteford football game. In the back row (left to right) is exchange student Kinga Vidor (her escort will be Caylob Alcock), seniors Alli VanBrandt (escorted by Sam Cool), Larissa Elliott (escorted by Clayton Borton), Samantha Wright (escorted by JJ Elarton) and Justis McCowan (escorted by Austin Gilson), and exchange student Rebecca Rosenberger (escorted by Garrett Smith). Front row freshman court member Allie Kaiser (escorted by Anthony Thomas), sophomore Marlee Blaker (escorted by Nate Elarton) and junior Cheyenne Stone (escorted by Dominick Sell).
  • Front.park.lights
    GETTING READY—Jerad Gleckler pounds nails to secure a string of holiday lights on the side of the Wakefield Park concession stand while other members of the Volunteer Club and others hold them in place. The volunteers showed up Sunday afternoon to string lights at the park. The decorating project will continue this Sunday. Denise Walsh is in charge of the effort this year.
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Floodwater mosquitoes are here 2007.09.12

Written 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.”


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.


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.

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