Posted February 1, 2012
One of the fun things about my job is getting to meet so many people. Folks around here are so nice and they always want to talk about the weather. One comment I'm hearing about our warm weather this winter relates to mosquitoes. A lot of people are complaining to me about how they wish it would get colder so the mosquitoes won't be as bad this summer.
I'm not an entomologist but I had heard that winter chill is not a good indicator of how bad a mosquito season will be. Brian Shrader talked to an entomologist from NC State University yesterday who confirmed my suspicions. During the winter mosquitoes and other insects are hibernating. They have evolved to withstand very cold temperatures during the winter even for long periods of time. So...a very cold winter will not reduce the number of mosquitoes in the summer.
I can remember hiking in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming one summer. We were hiking around a lake and the mosquitoes were so bad that I had to put a bandana over my mouth and nose to keep from breathing them in. I've never seen mosquitoes that thick in NC! They have a very cold, long winter in Wyoming and that didn't stop those mosquitoes!
What DOES have an impact on their numbers is the amount of rain. If we have a wet spring and summer they have plenty of habitat to breed in and we see lots of mosquitoes. Drier seasons mean less bugs. One thing you can do this spring is empty out any containers in your yard that are holding water. Old tires are a big contributor to mosquito habitat. Entomologists say a mild winter and warm spring may bring the bugs out earlier but weather won't increase their numbers. -Elizabeth Gardner