Recent torrential rainstorms in Arizona have created the perfect conditions for a mosquito infestation that is plaguing Phoenix residents.
Maricopa County officials say they have received more than 10,000 complaints this year, which is almost double the rate for 2013, the Associated Press reports.
“We’ve been seeing a lot of mosquitoes, a majority of them are floodwater mosquitoes. Those are the ones that have been generating most of the calls,” said County Environmental Services Department spokesman Johnny Dilone.
Residents say the infestation is the worst they’ve ever seen. “We’re a smorgasbord for these heat-seeking missiles with wings,” Maricopa resident Leslie Meehan told AP. “I’ve got 32 bites on one arm.”
Environmental officials say they are setting out mosquito traps in order to test for West Nile virus, which can cause flulike symptoms, paralysis and even death in humans and animals.
Six people have died and 44 people have been infected from the virus in Maricopa County this year.
Dilone says that even in the Arizona desert people need to check their homes to remove or cover any standing pools of water — buckets, swimming pools or pet water dishes — where mosquitoes could lay eggs.