With spring showers come flowers and the creation of potential breeding pools for tiny bloodsucking mosquitoes.
Water that collects and becomes stagnant is what the insects like best to breed in, which means people should remember to turn over their empty containers, toys or wading pools left out in the yard.
"It is mosquito season," said Howard Gamble, Wheeling-Ohio County Health Department administrator, during a recent board of health meeting.
Mosquito breeding season is under way, according to the Wheeling-Ohio County Health Department.
Gamble informed board members that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the West Virginia Bureau of Public Health put out an alert to remind the public about how to avoid mosquitoes, which can carry the West Nile virus.
"Historically, we've done some mosquito collection over the years, but we weren't asked by the state to this year," Gamble said.
People's chances of actually contracting West Nile are low, but the health department recommends being careful anyway. For example, mosquitoes like to feed between dusk and dawn.
The hours from dusk to dawn are peak biting times for many mosquito species. Use a repellent and wear protective clothing during the evening and early morning, or consider avoiding outdoor activities during these times.
During those hours, people should wear pants and long-sleeved shirts to cover their skin. Insect repellent also is recommended. Getting rid of water, no matter how small the amount, is important. Female mosquitoes prefer laying eggs in standing water.