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by Andrea Dessoffy

These days it seems you can't go outside without being attacked by a swarm of gnats or mosquitoes.

You can swat them or dodge them, but these mosquitoes, gnats and other bothersome bugs don't seem to be going anywhere.

Terre Haute resident Mary Lou Toll said, "They can go home now. they're everywhere." Flood victim Gary Brandt said, "They're going in your mouth, and your ears and everywhere else."

Standing water from the floods has created the perfect breeding ground.

For Ellie Oliver, that breeding ground is right across the street.

She says, "I've sprayed my house inside and out with bug spray, but even when I went to bed the other day the gnats felt like they were swimming around my pillow."

While certainly bothersome and abundant, health officials say mosquitoes breeding on big pools of water from the floods aren't necessarily the mosquitoes you need to worry about.

Joni Foulkes of the Vigo County Health Department said, "The main threat with mosquitoes is West Nile virus, and the mosquito that carries West Nile is a container breeder mosquito."

That means containers holding small amounts of water like bird baths, old tires, and buckets should be emptied.

So far no West Nile has been found in the Wabash Valley, but health officials urge you to take precautions.

Foulkes said, "Use an insect repellent, try to avoid going outside between dusk and dawn, wear long sleeves and pants if possible."

The county's trying to combat the creatures as well, sending five trucks out a night to spray mosquitoes.

As for those never-ending gnats?

Foulkes said, "They breed by the millions and they are not a health risk but they sure are a pest."

Health officials recommend using an insect repellent with deet.

They also say if you develop any symptoms of West Nile like fever or headaches after being bitten see a doctor.

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