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Bugged? Here’s why mosquitoes in the Dayton area may be more plentiful -- and vicious


Highlights

Conditions in Dayton have been right for prolific mosquito breeding, officials say. 

You’re minding your own business when the attackers come into your backyard like bloodthirsty thieves in the night.

They attack arms and legs, elbows and even toes with tube-like mouths.

Mosquitoes are creepy jerks alright. 

And Suzanne Mills-Wasniak of the Ohio State Extension's Montgomery County office said you might be onto something if you think there are more of these potentially life-threatening pests in the Dayton area than normal.

Conditions have been right for prolific mosquito breeding, Mills-Wasniak , the extension’s educator for agriculture and natural resources, told this news organization.  

>> MORE: 5 ways to stop mosquitoes from attacking you

“We’ve had a lot of rain and that’s going to be a major cause of increased breeding,” she noted. 

BREEDING POOLS

Thus far this year, WHIO Chief Meteorologist Eric Elwell said the area has seen about 34 inches of rain, eight more than average. 

“That is a lot,” he said. “We’ve had a wet June and July.” 

There is a spot of good news. Elwell said the summer has been cooler and not as humid. 

>> MORE: 5 Day Forecast with Chief Meteorologist Eric Elwell

“They would be even worse than they are,” he said. “Warm, muggy evenings is what they love.” 

He also says rainfall numbers are trending down for August.

THIS IS NOT AN EPIDEMIC 

Things aren’t cut and dry. 

Whether you have more mosquitoes or not might be a matter of where you live and how well you control potential breeding grounds, according to Tom Hut,  Public Health - Dayton & Montgomery County’s Bureau of Special Services’ supervisor.

>> MORE: The best and worst products to prevent mosquito bites

“The hot spots can kind of shift through the summer,” he said. “It’s not any worse than any usual summer. Mosquito rely on standing water to breed.”

More than itchy skin is the risk. 

Seventeen of the 123 mosquito traps that have been set during the 2017 mosquito season have tested positive for West Nile. 

Hut said that is about three times less than tested positive during the 2012 West Nile epidemic.

>> MORE:  Worst of West Nile likely past, CDC says 

YOU ARE NOT DEFENSELESS 

There are also no known human carriers of the Zika virus, which is transmitted from humans to mosquitoes to humans, Hut said. 

That said, Hut said Asian tiger mosquitoes (aedes albopictus) are known carriers of Zika and other viruses. West Nile can cause inflammation of the brain.

>> MORE: Zika threat a boon for local mosquito-control companies

Hut encourages people to take mosquito bite prevention seriously.

That includes wearing mosquito repellent (carry it in your car), long sleeve and pants and removing standing water. 

Check gutters, downspouts and catch basins  for standing water and remove old water out of bird baths at least weekly. 

Hut said mosquitoes don’t typically venture far from where they hatch. 

The only live a few weeks and can go from egg to adult in seven days. 

Even very small containers like bottle caps can be mosquito nurseries. 

“It doesn’t take much water to attract a mosquito to lay her egg,” he said. 

TIPS TO AVOID BEING BITTEN BY MOSQUITOES, FROM THE OHIO DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH

• Clothing will help protect you from mosquito bites. When possible, wear long sleeves, long pants and socks in addition to repellent when outdoors. 

• Repel mosquitoes when going outdoors during mosquito season by using repellents that contain an EPA-registered active ingredient such as DEET or picaridin. Follow the directions on the label. 

• Treat items such as boots, pants, sock, and tents with permethrin or purchase permethrin-treated clothing and gear. Follow label directions. 

• Be aware of peak mosquito hours. Mosquitoes are most active and biting during the early morning and late evening hours. If outdoors at dawn or dusk, take extra care to use repellent and wear protective clothing. 

• Keep window and door screens closed and in good repair to keep mosquitoes out of your house.

• Mosquitoes rest in tall weeds. Keep weeds cut short to help deter mosquitoes. 

• Avoiding mosquitoes doesn’t mean kids have to stay inside in front of the TV. Get them outside and playing, but remember — a couple of seconds applying an effective repellent to exposed skin and clothing will help everyone stay healthy. Follow the directions on the label.

 


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