MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- After an extremely wet winter and spring, Minnesotans need to brace for a "bumper crop" of mosquitoes this year, the state Department of Natural Resources said.
For the last 10 days or so, a type of mosquito that usually doesn't become bothersome until after Memorial Day has been making itself known. The Mosquito Control District reports hundreds of calls from frustrated people, most with complaints like, "I can't even go outside, even in the daytime!"
Some children were covered with mosquito-induced welts, complained parents and day-care providers. Elderly people were bitten so badly that they needed medical attention, some reported. And others wondered why they live in Minnesota.
How bad it's really been is hard to say.
The mosquito-control program was created in 1958, and statistics on mosquitoes weren't carefully recorded in the early days. But Jim Stark, the agency's public-affairs coordinator, said this season is the worst in Anoka County since the mid-1970s.
But to people complaining that the critters are bigger than ever, the experts say not so. "We're not dealing with a super-species," Stark said.
The mosquito-control program's staff of 47 full-time and 123 seasonal workers, who currently are treating wetlands, is doing its best, Stark said, but resources aren't stretching to fill the need. He cited funding cuts by the Legislature in 1996.
Mosquitoes also are arriving early and in large numbers in other parts of the state. And black flies are coming.
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