MOUNT LAUREL, N.J. - Summer is around the corner and you can almost smell the burgers on the grill. You can also hear the faint buzzing sound of the deadliest, and most annoying, insect as it comes in for a landing. The American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA) reminds the public of the health risks associated with mosquitoes as they become active during the summer months.
Mosquitoes have been seen unusually early this year due to the country’s warm weather patterns and rainfall in recent months. In most parts of the country, mosquito populations usually stay at low levels until late April. This year is different due to the warmer temperatures forcing them out unusually early in search of hosts to feed on.
“The mild winter, combined with tropical storms last year will lead to a banner year for mosquitoes,” said Joseph Conlon, AMCA Technical Advisor. “The weather will have an impact both on the amount of mosquitoes and how soon they become a problem. The public needs to be prepared to meet the threat so that it doesn’t get out of hand.”
Conlon expressed the importance of public action. “We promote integrated, effective and sustainable mosquito control as the key to enhancing the public’s quality of life.”
He shared how the general public can adopt safe mosquito control following “the 3 D’s”:
• Drain: Empty out water containers at least once per week
• Dress: Wear long sleeves, long pants, and light-colored, loose-fitting clothing
• Defend: Properly apply an approved repellent such as DEET, picaridin, IR3535 or oil of lemon-eucalyptus
“Don’t forget that your rain gutters, tree holes, old buckets or tires-all make excellent spots for mosquitoes to lay their eggs,” says Conlon. “Encouraging your neighbors to eliminate sources on their own property is critical to a community-wide control program. Mosquitoes require water to complete their life cycle. If their water source is eliminated, so is their offspring. ”
There are over 170 species of mosquitoes from North America, with several species having been accidentally introduced from other parts of the world. One female can lay 100-300 eggs at a time, averaging 1,000-3,000 offspring in their lifetime. The average female mosquito can live anywhere from 3-100 days feeding on blood several times during that period. Male mosquitoes live 10 to 20 days, feeding only on plant nectar.
Worldwide, mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria, yellow fever and dengue fever, continue infecting and killing millions every year. In the United States, mosquitoes spread several types of encephalitis, a swelling of the brain, in addition to transmitting heartworm to common household pets.