Mosquitoes: 'They're coming'

Joe Taschler
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

By and large, mosquitoes have been relatively scarce at the start of this summer in southeastern Wisconsin.

That is a relief for the large galleries of folks gathering at outdoor events such as the U.S. Open at Erin Hills, where mosquitoes have not been a problem.

"I haven't seen too many," said Kurt Peter, who leads volunteer marshals at the first tee. "I don't know if the thought crossed my mind. We're going to be out here all weekend."

Mosquitoes haven’t been much a nuisance this week at the U.S. Open at Erin Hills, where Alexa Wuebben, 8, of Cedarburg grabbed a snack while sitting on a beanbag seat in the grass next to a family member, Mike Herschleb, of DeForest.

"Usually a week or two weeks after you get a lot of rain, you'd get a lot of mosquitoes," said Edward Blumenthal, who is an associate professor of biological sciences at Marquette University. "There doesn't seem to be as many as you'd expect."

But just wait. Wisconsin's mosquito season is just beginning, and businesses that deal with the pesky critters are bracing for clouds of them to erupt in the next couple weeks.

"Mosquitoes, they are going to go off full blast here in probably, I'm guessing, the next week," said John Esser, owner of The Mosquito Guy, a bug control company based in Waukesha. "They're coming. I think once the mosquitoes kick off, it's going to get pretty crazy. That's my guess, just from what I'm seeing."

Part of that forecast is based on the types of mosquitoes Esser and his crews are encountering.

Mosquitoes have been scarce in the early part of summer in southeastern Wisconsin.

"We're seeing plenty of male mosquitoes out there, and we haven't seen a lot of males the last five or six years," Esser said. "So they were out early fertilizing eggs."

The main hatch of mosquitoes usually goes off around July 4, he added.

Although the mosquitoes have been scarce, ticks have been abundant, Esser said.

"I've had plenty of customers telling me about their kids coming in with ticks on them," Esser said.

There's nothing out of the ordinary measured by sales of bug spray and repellents at the Elliott's Ace Hardware store in West Allis, assistant manager Tom Leonard said.

"But the season's young here, and I know we've had a lot of rain," Leonard said.