Mild Winter Won’t Create Greater Summer Mosquito Problems
By Rebecca Mathews, CG Science
Warmer weather is finally dominating Ohio’s thermometers, but for most residents, this past winter was not one to document. There has been speculation that the lack of cold weather will impact the number of insects this summer, increasing their counts because they were not able to die off in the winter as per usual. These speculations are false, but there are still plenty of precautions to take this summer when venturing into mosquito territory.
“There is almost no correlation between mild winter temperatures and summer mosquito problems in Ohio. And while it is true that early spring warm weather may lead to earlier mosquito activity, it is too early to know what impact this will have on late spring and summer mosquito populations,” stated Dr. Richard Gary from the Ohio Department of Health Zoonotic Disease Program. As the weather warms up, and it begins to rain the mosquito populations will then be determined.
“Most pest and disease carrying species breed in stagnant water left over after heavy rains. Rainfall is not very predictable beyond about 10 days. Other factors, such as heat during spring and summer, also influence the rate of reproduction,” Gary added.
Mosquitoes are an issue every summer in Ohio, but according to Gary no expectations can be made as to how populated they will be based off of the conditions of the previous winter.
In Ohio, all mosquito-borne diseases are zoonoses. This means that they can transfer their animal diseases to people. However, infected animals or people cannot pass the diseases to one another.
Gary explains that the chance that one person will become ill from a single mosquito bite is low but there are still procedures that can be taken to fight mosquito bites and lower the risk.
Lower your risk with these steps from Dr. Gary:
- Use EPA-registered insect repellents while outdoors and wear clothing that leaves the least amount of skin exposed as weather permits. (Especially from dusk to dawn when mosquitoes are most active.)
- Mosquito-proof the areas where you work and play by draining any containers with standing water and keep window and door screens in good repair.
- At the community level, it is good to know what mosquito control programs are provided by your local government and where to report any disease vector concerns, starting with your local health department. Since mosquitoes don’t recognize property boundaries, clean-up events organized by civic and youth organizations can be an effective way to reduce standing water and breeding sites throughout the neighborhood.
- Creature Feature: Mosquito (Aedes triseriatus) | College Green Magazine – Eco-news From The Ground Up
- Aedes triseriatus | Imageflip