Mosquitoes Swarm Michigan: Why They’re So Bad & What You Can Do
This past weekend I took a trip with my significant other to the Binder Park Zoo. We had a phenomenal time. The weather was cool since it had just rained and the sky was overcast which made it a perfect day to be outside. However, the thing we did not account for was the amount of mosquitoes we would be battling. Constantly waving our arms around may have made us look like we were having a private dance party but, what else could we do? The mosquitoes outnumbered us a zillion to one.
It does seem like the mosquitoes have been particularly bad this year and I'm not the only one who noticed.
On the Kalamazoo Reddit thread, someone asked,
What is up with the mosquitoes this year? The mosquitoes seem particularly aggressive, and the quantity of them are just off the charts. What are you all doing to manage them?
The original poster went on to say that they'd like to avoid dousing themselves in DEET and even offered to buy an Elon Musk Flamethrower to try to "torch these suckers out of the sky".
Hopefully, we don't have to go to those extremes, although I understand the temptation.
However, if you were hoping that these blood suckers would die down with some drier weather, I'm sorry to say I don't think that's going to be the case.
According to Bridge Michigan, a nonpartisan and non-profit news source, the mosquitoes aren't going away anytime soon.
Why Are They So Bad This Year?
Let's start with why the mosquitoes seem to be in the billions this year.
Returning to that same article from Bridge Michigan, the cause is attributed to the fact that back in April we had a drought. In turn, eggs laid by mosquitoes stayed dormant, piling up without hatching. I'm sure you can see where this is going. Once we finally had a downpour of rain all of those eggs hatched at once causing the infestation of mosquitoes we are now all suffering through.
Unfortunately, it only takes about half an inch of rain for mosquitoes to hatch and then lay more eggs. With that being said, it's unlikely that these mosquitoes will just go away. At least not until we get into the drier seasons.
What About Diseases?
A very reasonable question. In America, mosquitoes have been responsible for spreading a number of diseases like Dengue Fever, Zika, West Nile and more. You can read more about diseases that mosquitoes carry on the CDC's website.
Here in Michigan, West Nile, EEE or Eastern Equine Encephalitis, and Jamestown Canyon virus have been found in Michigan's mosquitoes in the past. However, the mosquitoes we're currently dealing with are floodwater mosquitoes. Meaning, we mainly need to worry about the Jamestown Canyon virus.
According to the CDC, here are some symptoms associated with Jamestown Canyon virus to be on the lookout for if you've recently been bitten by a mosquito:
- RARELY: infection of the brain or the lining around the brain
Unfortunately, there's no vaccine or "cure" for the Jamestown Canyon virus. Instead, it's advised that, if you suspect you have come in contact with the virus, that you:
- Contact your healthcare provider who will order tests to verify infection
- Take over-the-counter pain relievers to keep your fever down
- Drink plenty of fluids
- Get plenty of rest
How Do I Avoid Getting Mosquito Bites?
According to Bridge Michigan, the easiest and most obvious way to avoid mosquito bites is to stay inside. Apart from that:
- Wear long sleeves and long pants when you leave the house (I know...not ideal during these warm summer months)
- Wear insect repellent that contains DEET (OR a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approved repellent)
- Dump water out of mosquito breeding areas (this can include buckets, kiddie pools and the like)
You can see the full list of preventative measures here.
While they don't serve much purpose it looks like mosquitoes are here to stay. Keep yourself safe this summer!
If you feel like being horrified by insects check this out: These are 5 fun facts about the cicada killer wasps that roam Michigan.
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