ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — If you’ve noticed an uptick in the amount of mosquitos flying around especially over the past of couple weeks, you’re not alone. There’s a reason you may be noticing this, and the weather has a lot to do with that.
Mosquitos thrive when they have a warm and moist environment to settle in. Think creeks, still-water streams, and swamps. Note: It’s not just the heat that these bugs thrive in. The key is the humidity. If it’s hot but too dry they won’t be quite as active. The moisture content in the air is the most important part.
From a weather standpoint in Western New York, not only was this past July an incredibly rainy month, but we also have been very warm and humid just over this past week. Pair that with periodic rain and thunderstorms, and you can get the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes.
What’s the Buzz?
Brian Eshenaur, Senior Extension Associate from Cornell University and of the NYS Integrated Pest Management can attest to the recent uptick in mosquito activity. He states that mosquito numbers seem to be way up and especially noticed by neighbors as well as the surrounding community during the last couple weeks. The cause of the increase is our long stretch of wet weather especially from the month of July. He states, “There is a direct connection between the amount of rainfall we receive and mosquito populations as the mosquito eggs and larvae are aquatic, and depend on some standing water for their development.”
It doesn’t take as much water as you think to create the perfect environment for mosquitos to settle down and get comfy somewhere. Outdoor items such as overturned frisbees, wagons, old tires, and leftover buckets, can provide the perfect home for still water, and therefore mosquitos. Ponds or water gardens with fish aren’t as much of a concern, because fish love to eat mosquito larvae.
Did you know?
- Mosquitos can successfully breed in as little as a teaspoon of water if undisturbed for a minimum of four days
- Mosquitos aren’t the best fliers especially in wind, so when it’s breezy outside you may find less mosquitos flying around
- These creatures love the hot and humid environment because they are cold blooded. This means that they depend on their surrounding environment to get to their bodies up to the proper temperature.
- The temperature they function best at is 80°F. Anything below 60°F and the mosquitos can become lethargic and hardly function at all.
- Different species are active at different times of the day. For the most part mosquitos are active at dawn and dusk on warm evenings and mornings.
- Mosquitos generally stop flying around midnight, in temperatures that are too cool, or when it’s raining heavily outside.
Tips on How to Prevent Mosquito Breeding
- Dump out any standing water from containers, recycling bins, leftover buckets, bottle caps, or cans, boats, tarps, tires and buckets that are outside.
- Clean out debris from your house or shed gutters regularly.
- Change out the water in bird baths and fountains
- Clean, filter, treat and cover up pools. Both in-ground and above ground pools are susceptible as well as inflatable children’s pools.
- Having a fish pond can eliminate mosquitoes as the fish love to eat the larvae before they develop.
- If mosquitoes are an issue in your neighborhood, talk to your neighbors! Work together to come up with a plan to prevent them.
Knowing we’re still dealing with such warm and muggy conditions, the greatest potential for mosquitos will be Thursday and during the day Friday.
Lately we’ve had more moisture lingering in the air than the atmosphere wants to let out in the form of rain; A.K.A. the high humidity levels. We really haven’t seen too much in the way of widespread rain with a lack of significant forcing or true frontal boundary to release all the moisture given the upper level pattern. That will change this weekend, but for now we’ll be sitting in our soupy air until then.
Trying to keep mosquitos away? Make sure screens, windows and doors are tightly shut especially at night. If hanging around outside, cover up with loose-fit long sleeves and pants, and have insect repellent nearby!
~Meteorologist Christine Gregory