This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
People hate mosquitoes. Really, really hate mosquitoes. And with good reason.
Not only are mosquito bites annoying, they are the primary carriers of such troublesome and sometimes deadly diseases as malaria, yellow fever, West Nile virus and, new on the list of things to worry about, Zika virus.
We hate mosquitoes so much that no less an authority than biologist E.O. Wilson one of the world's foremost experts on, and advocates for, biological diversity says he would gladly pull the switch if someone were ever to invent a means of obliterating certain species of mosquitoes.
Not all species of mosquitoes, mind you, just the ones whose evolution is so interwoven with our own that they literally cannot live without us.
We hate mosquitoes so much that in Salt Lake City, and many other places, there is a special unit of government devoted to no other purpose than to cut down on the number of the little pests.
Here it's called the Salt Lake City Mosquito Abatement District, created by a state law in 1923 and considered so important that it has its own taxing authority.
This year, though, the mosquito police find themselves a bit underfunded as they go in search of the particular kinds of insects that are known to carry the dread Zika virus.
They have been reduced to borrowing the specialized kinds of bug traps needed from their opposite numbers in New Jersey.
They've borrowed six. To really keep a proper watch on the city's ponds, puddles and other places where mosquitoes breed, the district's experts say they need 20. Which, it would seem, self-respecting mosquito haters in city, county or state government might provide.
So far, officials have not found any of the kinds of mosquitoes known to carry Zika in Salt Lake City. But the county has confirmed the first known case of West Nile virus this year.
And we all hate mosquitoes enough that, abatement district or no, controlling them is a responsibility we all share.
Health officials need all of us to be on the lookout for, and report, Zika-bearing bugs. Those are the striped mosquitoes that are seen to be out and biting during daylight hours.
It is also our own job to use repellent, wear long sleeves and long pants and, most effective, to remove any standing water, even buckets or discarded cups, which are mosquitoes' favorite breeding spots.
Simple steps that go a long way, cost no taxpayers money and potentially save lives.