Following a very wet spring, we reached out to NIU entomologist Dr. Ted Burgess to talk about the inevitable rise in mosquitoes! He shared some great insight on different types of mosquitoes, the dangers they may or may not pose in transmitting diseases like West Nile or COVID-19, and some easy ways to help control the mosquito population around your property.
Do heavy rains and exploding mosquito populations go hand in hand?
That’s tricky, because the answer is “not necessarily.” Heavy rains create more habitat for mosquito breeding, but there are other conditions required to trigger swarms: temperature and stagnant water, not flowing water.
Does a wet spring mean that we are going to have lots of mosquitoes all summer?
No, it’s not a good predictor for the summer. It’s tricky to predict long term. Spring may have great conditions for mosquitoes, but in July we can have a drought that dries up their breeding sites and the population crashes.
Where are some places that mosquitoes tend breed?
There are two classes of mosquitoes:
- Pesky ones that buzz around and bite you and leave an itchy welt. Those are Floodwater Mosquitoes often breed in flood waters out in farm fields or puddles in your yard. They lay eggs in water that can sit dormant for months until standing water activates things.
- Potential spreaders of disease. Those are Culex Mosquitoes. They like places with nasty gross water – bird baths, poorly drained planters, etc.
What can I do to eliminate mosquito breeding places?
Culex Mosquitos don’t travel far, so its important to eliminate their breeding spots. Empty and refill bird baths once a week, keep rain barrels covered, dump out standing water in pots, fill in low areas of the yard where water settles. It takes an average of 14 days for their eggs to hatch, so clearing standing water once a week can help to dramatically decrease mosquitoes in your yard – and your whole neighborhood if everyone does those things!
Can mosquitoes transmit COVID-19?
There is no evidence to suggest that mosquitoes transmit ANY sort of coronavirus, let alone this one. The viruses that they transmit have to incubate inside the mosquito, and it has to be able to replicate inside a mosquito. According to current literature, the mechanism by which coronavirus replicates does not exist in mosquitoes.
Check out our full chat with Dr. Burgess below: