More mosquitoes in 2014 despite brutal winter

BUG WEEK On day one of 16 Morning News Bug Week, the team delves into one of summer's most irritating insects.

Contrary to popular belief, winter's brutal temperatures and excessive snow allowed for more mosquitoes. The insects thrive in standing water, so snow melt provided ideal conditions. As for the cold, it wasn't enough to destroy the eggs, which can stay dormant for up to seven years.

Heavy rain in the spring and early summer was also optimal for breeding. The silver lining, experts say, is that these bugs aren't the dangerous ones, yet.

"We've been seeing a lot of early mosquito activity, but the good news is they're mostly not the species that carry West Nile Virus," said Catherine Craker, a Biology Professor at Ohio Northern University.

"Those typically come out later in the summer in June, July, August as the hot weather sets in," said Craker. "Most of the early season mosquitoes are the kind that bite and make you itch."

There is concern over a new virus making its way from Africa, Asia and Europe into the Americas. Chikungunya was reported in late 2013 in the Caribbean.

"Chikungunya causes a rash, a fever, aches and pains, its painful," said Ken Wuerfel, co-owner at Mosquito Squad Southwest Michigan. "They don't have a cure for it."

Experts like Wuerfel recommend the "Five T's" to prevent bites.

1. Tip over standing water containers.
2. Toss out trash or yard debris.
3. Turn over permanent structures that could be carriers of water.
4. Eliminate or tighten tarps to not hold or have pockets of water.
5. Treat accordingly.

For more information about Mosquito Squad Southwest Michigan, click here for the website.


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