The summer season is quickly approaching which means that even citizens living in northern states will not be able to avoid mosquito bites. This time of year tends to make certain people worried about mosquito-borne diseases as everyone can remember the Zika outbreaks that occurred a couple of years back. However, last year did not see nearly as many Zika victims as previous years, and hopefully 2018 will see even fewer. Although disease carrying mosquitoes may seem like a scourge that is beyond human control, most mosquitoes originate from our very own neighborhoods. According to Tom Smith, program administrator of the West Nile Virus Program, most mosquitoes in York County, Pennsylvania originate from manmade containers. These containers can be anything from swimming pools to small objects like bottle caps. Most mosquito eggs develop in disposable containers that can be kept away from mosquitoes. Basically any object that contains a bit of water is an ideal habitat for developing mosquito eggs. Standing water serves as a mosquito breeding ground that can easily be taken away with just a little bit of effort from everyone.
Once a female mosquito locates an area containing standing water, it will begin to breed. A female mosquito produces three hundred eggs. These eggs are left behind behind in an area of standing water until it they reach maturity. Unfortunately, it only takes those three hundred eggs five to seven days to emerge as adult mosquitoes. Those three hundred mosquitoes will go on to produce even more eggs for each female. This rapid life cycle is how mosquito-borne diseases get out of hand rapidly, and often before anyone sees it coming. Since most mosquitoes tend to reproduce and lay eggs in man-made containers, several researchers with the York County Mosquito Surveillance Program will venture outdoors to gather mosquito specimens once temperatures increase. The collected mosquitoes will reveal which counties in Pennsylvania have particularly high mosquito populations. This information will be used for public health purposes.
Have you ever made a point to clear your yard of all sources of standing water in order to prevent mosquitoes from posing a risk to your health?
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