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Spring rain helped beautiful flowers bloom and lush vegetation flourish. However, the higher precipitation rates in parts of the mid-Atlantic also helped mosquito populations thrive this season.
Pest control professionals report that there has been increased mosquito activity all along the East Coast this season, according to Dr. Jim Fredericks, the chief entomologist for the National Pest Management Association.
It is estimated that mosquitoes are two to three times their normal rates.
Not only in the Southern states, where there are typically high levels of mosquitoes due to the hot, humid climate, but also in the New England states.
Mosquito populations depend heavily on moisture and precipitation.
Mosquitoes complete metamorphosis similar to beetles or butterflies. There is an egg stage, a larva stage, a pupa stage and an adult stage.
The adult stage is the stage in which the mosquitoes fly around. The female adult mosquitoes are the ones that bite.
However, the majority of the mosquito’s life is spent in water in those immature stages, according to Fredericks.
“The mosquito lifecycle requires water, they lay their eggs in or near water, and the larvae are actually aquatic. So, we need that habitat. when there is water around, you’re going to have mosquito populations, particularly stagnant water,” Fredericks said.
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The mid-Atlantic went through a spell of exceptionally rainy weather. Many areas experienced above-average rainfall this spring.
When there are higher levels of precipitation, there’s more standing water. This stagnant water provides a breeding location for these mosquitoes to lay their eggs and form larva to develop.
Therefore, there have been extremely high levels of mosquito activity this summer.
Many of the areas in the mid-Atlantic that experienced higher levels of rain are now in a dry spell.
Huge mosquito populations that developed during the time of high rainfall are now starting to concentrate as that water dries up.
“Mosquitoes are still looking for places to lay their eggs. But often times, the only places where this is standing water left is around structures and around homes,” Fredericks said.
Mosquitoes can be found around structures where moisture is located, such as bird baths, clogged rain gutters or potted plants. Mosquito populations often concentrate in neighborhoods and areas where there are people due to the availability of moisture.
“We will continue to see these high mosquito populations [even during dry weather],” Fredericks said. "We hear a lot about mosquitoes in wet weather, but as the weather dries, that will sometimes concentrate mosquitoes near structures."
An upcoming change in the weather pattern may create conducive conditions for mosquito populations to grow further.
“A weekend rainstorm ahead will mark a switch to a prolonged wet pattern in the northeastern U.S.,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said. “Downpours will leave behind standing water that can create breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Be sure to check AccuWeather’s mosquito activity forecasts and Zika index before partaking in outdoor activities."
It is hard to know exactly how long these mosquito rates will stay elevated.
"I would expect that we will continue to have a buggy summer, pretty high levels this summer and extending into the autumn," Fredericks said.
Mosquitoes are often thought of as a summertime pest. However, mosquitoes often continue to buzz until there is a hard freeze.
While mosquito levels are high, it it is important that you protect yourself from mosquito bites and mosquito-borne diseases, such as Zika and West Nile Virus.
There are a number of preventative measures that can help reduce the risk of mosquitoes near your home.
"Identify those potential breeding zones that you may be inadvertently creating around your house like kitchen tools and saucers that may be underneath planted pots," Fredericks said.
Fredericks recommends that you check that your gutters are free of clogs, so that water isn’t collecting up at the roof line.
Make sure that birdbaths are changed on a weekly basis.
"Another thing is to call a pest control professional because a pest control professional can come be that extra set of eyes that you need to help identify some of these places," Fredericks said.
A pest control professional can develop an integrative mosquito management plan, specifically for your property. The plan will help reduce the number of mosquitoes that are present around your property.
You can also protect yourself by wearing EPA-registered repellent.
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