More days with hot and humid conditions are increasing mosquitoes

Missouri is seeing more mosquito days each year
Mosquito(Associated Press)
Published: Aug. 1, 2020 at 10:45 AM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - A study by the National Institute of Health found mosquito days are increasing across the United States. This increase is caused by more favorable weather conditions.

The National Institute of Health analyzed 239 sites all across the United States, and found since the 1980s, 64% of the sites saw an increase in mosquito days.

Kelly McGowan, a field specialist in horticulture with the Univ. of Missouri Extension said, “They prefer humid days, they prefer warm days.”

The combination of humidity of 42% or higher and temperatures between 50-95 degrees defines a mosquito day.

“The more warm days we have, the more generations of mosquitoes we’ll have,” McGowan said.

Areas seeing the biggest increase in mosquito days include the Pacific Coast, Ohio Valley, and the Northeast. According to the study, southern states on the other hand are becoming too hot for mosquitos. Sites in these regions saw a decrease in the number of mosquito days.

In Springfield, the number of mosquitos days has increased by one day in the 2010s. In the state capital, they’re seeing an extra 17 mosquitos days a year.

Meanwhile in Arkansas, the site in Fayetteville saw no change in the number of mosquito days. Fort Smith saw a decrease in the number of mosquito days.

More favorable conditions mean more female mosquitoes will lay eggs.

“It only takes three days for the eggs to hatch and then once the eggs hatch, it only takes about three eggs for them to transition into adults and fly off,” McGowan said.

Any standing water can become a breeding ground for these pests.

“We’re still learning about some of the diseases that they can transmit, so anything that we can do as homeowners to prevent water from standing can be very helpful,” McGowan said.

The study predicts with an increase in mosquitoes because of these favorable conditions, we may also see an uptick in the number of mosquito-spread diseases.

McGowan said mosquitoes can spread diseases from person to person when they bite you.

Standing waters attracts female mosquitoes to lay their eggs. You will find more of these pests after it rains. At dusk, you’ll also find more common.

“Just Taking precautions like using bug spray, using citronella candles. Things like that can be helpful,” McGowan said.

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