Recent rains bring more mosquitoes

Jul. 05, 2013 @ 06:48 PM

The Triad has had 3.55 inches of rain over the past two weeks, double the normal 1.71-inch average for the time period.

And for mosquitoes, that’s just fine. Perfect, in fact.
With the abnormal amount of rain and recent muggy conditions, mosquitoes will be thriving throughout the Triad.
“They only need a thimble full of water to breed,” said County Extension Director William Wickliffe with N.C. Cooperative Extension. “With the amount of rain we have had lately, we should expect a bazillion mosquitoes coming out soon. So get prepared.”
“Walk around your property and get rid of anything holding water,” he added. “No pots, no standing water. Your neighbor’s yard can be a breeding ground that will impact your yard.  Control is the key to help eradicate the mosquito problem.”
Here’s something you may not know. Only the female mosquito bites, “and they go for blood,” Wickliffe said. “They are vampires.” They need the blood for their eggs. Human blood contains protein, and the female mosquito needs the protein to develop her eggs.

Here are some other mosquito facts:

• Why does it itch so bad when mosquitoes bite?
When a female mosquito bites its victim, she deposits with her saliva a protein that keeps the blood from clotting as they drink. As in many allergic reactions, the body responds by releasing histamines to try to fight off the saliva. It’s the histamines that make the bite swell into a hard red bump and itch. When you scratch, you start a vicious cycle: Scratching releases more histamines, which makes the itching worse.

• How long can a mosquito live?
Mosquitoes typically live about two weeks, although some adult mosquitoes can survive the winter in a sort of hibernating state which enables them to survive for up to eight months. 

• Is there something that draws mosquitoes to me instead of my friend?
Nothing has been completely proven, but some scientists believe mosquitoes are attracted by the carbon dioxide exhaled by humans. They are drawn to the carbon dioxide, then they decide if that person fits their appetite.

• Which mosquito repellents or yard guard work best?
Each person should us the protection that works best for them. If you are going to use a repellent, use something with DEET in it as recommended on the label. Yard foggers and sprays work to keep mosquitoes away for a few hours, but they will be back as long as there is water around. Citronella candles and plants work mainly when there is little air movement to disperse the chemical. If there is a breeze, they may not be very effective. You can use mosquito repellent and sunscreen at the same time.
When treating small areas, such as bird baths, garden pools, etc., try insecticides that are available at many retail stores, garden centers and on-line garden suppliers. There are several products that kill mosquitoes but won’t harm fish, birds or other wildlife. 
Getting rid of breeding grounds are the only long-term solutions.

• What is West Nile virus?
West Nile virus is a virus most commonly spread by infected mosquitoes. West Nile virus can cause inflammation of the brain or inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord. Most people get infected with West Nile virus by the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected birds. Infected mosquitoes can then spread the virus to humans and other animals.

• What are the symptoms of West Nile virus disease?
No symptoms in most people. About one-in-five people who are infected will develop a fever with other symptoms such as headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea or rash. Most people with this type of West Nile virus disease recover completely, but fatigue and weakness can last for weeks or months.


Mosquito facts

The most common mosquito in this ares is the Asian tiger mosquito.

Male mosquitoes mate with females one to two days after the female emerges from the water as an adult.

Males do not bite, but they do feed on plant juices.

Mosquitoes lay about 100-300 eggs at a time.

Female mosquitoes begin searching for an animal to feed on several days after emerging from water.

Mosquitoes don’t see very well, but they zoom in like a heat-seeking missile. They have sphere-shaped, compound eyes. When they are 10 feet away, they use extremely sensitive thermal receptors on the tip of their antennae to locate blood near the surface of the skin.