After a stretch of rainy days that wrapped up the month of May, folks are itching to get outside to enjoy the warmer, drier weather that has taken shape lately. However, those soggy days will contribute to an uptick in the mosquito population across the state as the thermometer continues to climb. The last week of May brought rain for the entire state, though some were able to pick up on the heaviest of downpours. As the rain piled up, rainfall totals for the month for many sat near or above the seasonal average which creates the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes.
These summertime pests find areas of stagnant water, or water that has little to no movement, to lay their eggs. Once the eggs hatch, the larva thrive in the water before maturing and taking to the sky. Ponds, swamps, any outdoor water bowls or stands, uncleared gutters and drains can also collect water to keep a hospitable environment to host mosquitoes.
While the moisture is critical, temperatures also need to be warmer. Both conditions will be present as we approach the middle of June.
As long as we have a bit more humidity on hand, warmer temperatures will help to speed up the incubation time of the eggs laid by the mosquitoes which means mosquitoes will mature faster and lead to a larger number of mosquitoes. If temperatures are too cool through the overnight or afternoon, these pests will become a bit more lethargic. Once temperatures start rising over 60°, they become a lot more active and more willing to bite. Make sure you are protecting yourself and your family by wearing insect repellent while outdoors, especially around dawn and dusk when these pests are most active.
Other things you may not think of that will attract a mosquito to you will be activities that cause you to sweat along with just simply breathing. Mosquitoes are attracted to the carbon dioxide we exhale as it signals that we have a sign of life in us, and if we are sweating, that body odor and moisture on our skin will draw them in even more. Some studies have shown that wearing darker-colored clothing may be more attractive to a mosquito, specifically, the color blue. Best to wear lighter colored clothes if you will be spending time outside made of materials that are moisture-wicking and made of synthetic material, which tends to be woven tighter together, preventing the mosquito from easy access to your skin.
Other things to consider would be consuming sweets due to the added sugar in the bloodstream, wearing perfume or cologne, or scented deodorant. Using little to no additional scents will make you less attractive to the mosquito as they target you or your loved ones for their next meal. Find areas away from water and areas with taller foliage where the breeding grounds are not as prevalent. Breezy conditions or a fan will help to deter these pests along with limiting other factors that may further attract these insects to you. Not only are mosquito bites itchy, but they can also carry diseases that can be harmful to humans, one of which is the West Nile Virus. Take the necessary precautions to stay mosquito bite-free as best as you can through the summer months!
— Meteorologist Erika Paige