That pesky whine is back again as mosquito season hits full swing in the Capital Region.
While the recent onslaught of rainstorms, high humidity, and other nasty weather has made for a late start to seasonal activities, mosquitoes haven’t been delayed.
In fact, the weather is helping to expedite their life cycle as standing water fails to run off and near-daily rain creates a mosquito’s oasis in neglected natural and artificial pools of water.
The survival of the mosquito population relies on their ability to find refuge in shallow, stagnant water and while this process happens naturally in marshes, stream beds, and other slow-moving water bodies, there are also optimal conditions unintentionally created in our own backyards, according to Chris Logue, executive director of the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Schenectady County.
Frequent monitoring is the best way to stop an infestation before it starts, but because the cycle from larvae to mature mosquito is a little over a week, frequent may be an understatement.
And with the high amounts of rain, it seems almost anything can become the right habitat for these pests. Because of this, Logue says it’s important to frequently cycle clean water into places like bird baths, kiddie pools and artificial ponds, as well as to keep buckets and other receptacles turned over so they can’t collect unwanted water.
Backyard trash, tires, clogged rain gutters, and uneven ground are also listed on the Cornell Cooperative Extension’s website as places that harbor mosquito larvae. They suggest cutting out walls of tires, keeping wheelbarrows overturned when not in use, and clearing loose brush from the edges of backyard ponds, pool covers, and rain gutters to prevent water buildup.
Once mosquitoes mature, they can be thwarted from biting with repellents or protective clothing. People can also avoid being outside in early morning and late evening, when mosquitoes are most active.
The threat of diseases comes with bites from mature mosquitoes, but not every species is capable of carrying infections like West Nile virus and eastern equine encephalitis. And those that do are pretty rare.
The last reported case of West Nile virus in Schenectady County was six years ago, and so far there has been no correlation between a larger mosquito population and increased risk of mosquito-transmitted diseases. Therefore, Schenectady County spokesman Joe McQueen said, there is no increased risk of disease due to the unusually wet weather.