Finally the sun is shining, but everything is just soaked. And that’s making a lot of viewers curious about what all this standing water means for the soon to emerge mosquito population.
Ellen from Tewksbury Declared her Curiosity asking:
“Will we have a significant problem with mosquitoes?”
And Barbara in Amesbury wants to know if we should “expect a bumper crop of mosquitoes.”
Well we found that there’s no reason to panic.
David Henley runs the East Middlesex Mosquito Control project. He stalks the wetlands looking for mosquito larvae, the squirmy little worm-like things that are beginning to hatch and will grow into mosquitoes.
Scooping up a bit of standing water in Weston, Henley says, “This is a lot of mosquitoes for one scoop.”
He battles mosquitoes for the state.
It’s his job to know where they’ll hatch and how bad it might be.
“Some time in early May people will start seeing mosquitoes and that’s earlier than normal,” he predicts for this season.
We’ll see some earlier, Henley thinks, because of the warm March temperatures. But the record rain doesn’t mean we’ll definitely see more of the blood suckers.
The standing water, which budding plants are already sopping up, needs to be around for the whole mosquito development period, which just started.
Henley says it will be worse if April is a wet month, “Because mosquitoes develop between late March and early April and then complete by May.”
READ: Mosquito FAQs
Back at his Waltham office, Henley is already mapping out a strategy. His crew will attack the mosquito larvae on the ground and from the air, using a pesticide that only kills the baby mosquitoes.
“I think we will see more mosquitoes in early May and June, but I can’t judge the whole season because I can’t see the rainfall for June, July and August,” he predicts.
READ: Staying Mosquito Free
All the flooding we’ve endured raises two questions: Will there be more mosquitoes this year, and will there be more cases of EEE and West Nile?
Henley’s answer, probably not.
There are 51 species of mosquitoes. The ones that spread EEE like it wet all year long, while the ones that spread West Nile like a hot, dry July.
Henley expects there will be more black flies this year, because they love fast moving rivers.
But mosquitoes are more his game, so he’ll be watching closely, from the swamps. With many backyards under water, there are some things you can do to reduce the mosquito population as we dry out.
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