Massachusetts and the surrounding northeast states see up to 51 mosquito species each summer, several of which spread multiple diseases, such as west Nile and most recently, the Zika virus. Disease-carrying mosquitoes pose a major public health threat to residents, as the insects breed within stagnant water sources, which are often easy for the insects to come by within urban and residential areas. Unfortunately, the summer of 2019 will almost certainly see a sudden emergence of mosquitoes, which are predicted to be unusually abundant, as the frequent bouts of rainfall that have so far occured in the northeast have resulted in a buildup of standing water sources in urban and residential areas of the state where the mosquitoes will be looking to breed. To make matter worse, experts also believe that the region’s frequent rainfall will continue into the summer season.
A simple mud puddle is more than enough to provide numerous mosquitoes with an ideal mating environment where mosquito eggs can develop rapidly. According to Kimberly Foss, the Northeast Massachusetts Mosquito Control and Wetlands Management District entomologist, mosquitoes have laid an abundance of eggs within damp soil already this spring, and these eggs will soon develop into mature mosquito adults that are capable of spreading multiple diseases.
For the past three years, Massachusetts and much of the northeast, have seen drought conditions, making past mosquito seasons relatively less serious than what is expected this year. Some areas have been found to contain an unusually high amount of mosquitoes and eggs, while other areas contain little, or almost no mosquitoes at all. However, mosquitoes and their developing eggs are being found in abundance in salt marshes this year, which will be problematic for residents located near these natural water sources. Luckily, many areas, such as Norfolk, are taking extra steps to control mosquito populations this year in an effort to protect residents from disease, especially west Nile. Last year, Massachusetts saw 25 west Nile cases occur in the state.
Have you already begun applying mosquito repellent before stepping outdoors?