Hurricane Irma may be gone, but she certainly left a lasting bite. If you were wondering why you've been seeing a lot more mosquitoes in the past few weeks, you can blame Irma.
Why would Irma cause a rise in the mosquito population?
Most people associate mosquito reproduction with needing standing water to lay their eggs. While many species of mosquitoes must have standing water to lay their eggs, there are other species of mosquitoes that need only moist soil. The eggs of these "floodwater" species are able to lay dormant for three to five years.
Due to the egg laying habits of these two different groups of mosquitoes, hurricanes create a "perfect storm" for these pests to reproduce. Immediately following a hurricane we typically see storm surges and a rise in flooding. When dry areas or areas that do not usually have standing water flood, the "floodwater" species of mosquito eggs begin to hatch. At the same time, mosquitoes needing standing water to lay their eggs in begin to lay more eggs in the floodwater that has nowhere to go. These floodwaters create the perfect habitat the mosquito population needs to explode.
How do I protect myself and my family from these mosquitoes?
The best protection from mosquitoes after flooding has occurred is to stay inside, especially during peak times of day (around dawn and dusk) when mosquitoes are most active. When enjoying the outdoors, make sure to cover as much exposed skin as possible with loose fitting clothing and apply mosquito repellent. To further eliminate any mosquitoes from showing up in your yard, have the yard treated with adulticide labeled for mosquitoes.