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Bzzzzzzz... experts say Northeast mosquitoes will be nasty

May 21, 1997

BOSTON (AP) _ Here’s the buzz. If last year’s ’skeeter population seemed bad, this spring will feel worse in the Northeast.

That’s because the spring has been very wet, an ideal breeding condition for mosquitoes.

``It’s going to be pretty nasty,″ said John Smith, who keeps tabs on the invidious insects in the suburbs south of Boston.

The National Weather Service in Taunton said rainfall has been right around average for the season. Massachusetts typically gets 9 inches of rain between March and May.

The problem is there haven’t been many sunny, warm days to dry things out and help evaporate breeding grounds. Experts say it’s hard to predict what will happen later in the summer.

``I haven’t got out my Ouija board yet (so) it’s a little early to be sure,″ said Dick Dearborn, an entomologist in the Maine Department of Conservation. ``We’ve certainly had wet conditions right along, which bodes well for the mosquitoes and not so well for the people who don’t like them.″

Health officials are also watching for the mosquito-borne Eastern equine encephalitis virus, which was found in Rhode Island and Connecticut last year.

EEE is a rare neurological virus that can be fatal to humans and horses and can cause brain damage in survivors.

In the 40 years records have been kept, about 150 deaths nationwide have been blamed on EEE.

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