Populations of mosquitoes and flies have repeatedly appeared in campus spaces since the beginning of September. Large amounts of insects can hamper the student experience at outdoor events including Entra La Plaza, Homecoming and others.
Mafer Matta, a junior biology student from Guatemala, complained about mosquitoes biting her arms and legs during the Entra La Plaza event in the campus mall on September 30.
“This year was the worst year because I don’t remember it being like that in the summer and for the fall semester,” Matta said. “Last year, I don’t remember there being any bugs. They should vaporize them and kill them.
Mosquitoes need standing water to better lay their eggs and reproduce. During the summer months of this year, the record dry spell kept flies and mosquitoes from being active until the first rains.
ACU landscape and grounds director Scott Warren said early fall rainfall is to blame for the insect problem.
“We hit this pretty decent amount of precipitation there, late August, September 1, where I think the campus probably got a couple of three inches over a week and a half or so,” Warren said. “A lot of Abilene has seen similar precipitation pass. Well, obviously the mosquitoes are going to explode.
Mosquito and fly populations naturally increase in humid climatic conditions and decrease in drier conditions. The insects are active until the first frost of the season which usually occurs around mid-November.
“In a lot of these big open lawns, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of big problems,” Warren said. “So I think the mosquito population has exploded and is already going down a bit because we had no issues at the tailgates with mosquitoes at all.”
The ACU Grounds Department does not regulate insect populations because they avoid using non-biological 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 prevalent.
“I know some people seem to be more attracted to mosquitoes than others, but just use a good mosquito repellent if you notice you’re getting bitten and it’s bothering you,” Warren said. “Then at that point, just use a good bug spray to deal with it.”