Mosquitoes are a problem every year but 2017 will be different. We already fear the Zika Virus and there are threatening worries of Dengue and Chikungunya. On top of all that worry, we had Hurricane Matthew last year followed by a very mild winter. Mosquitoes are going to be a HUGE problem this summer!
What is the relationship between a Hurricane, a mild winter and this summer’s mosquito population? It is simple relationship that offers the perfect breeding grounds and an ample supply of mosquito eggs.
After Hurricane Matthew, the quantity of uprooted trees was stunning and looked like utter devastation. There were felled trees everywhere!
When trees are uprooted, they leave behind a hole which is sort of like a miniature ‘pond’ that collects water. The remaining soil is compacted due to the uprooting and compacted soil holds water. These root holes are below the level of the surrounding soil and water will always go to the lowest spot possible. Many of these holes are in unattended areas and provide ample breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
Mosquitoes only need a tablespoon of stagnant water to breed so now imagine gallons and gallons of water strewn throughout the area. These root holes will remain undisturbed which is like a mosquito party with no end in sight!
Another contributing factor from Hurricane Matthew was the storm surge that brought tons of water into the (normally) dry areas of the marsh. This water created ample breeding sites for the salt marsh skeeters that were dormant for a long time. Sale marsh mosquitoes are different from regular mosquitoes and you can tell the difference right away. If you ventured outside about a week after Hurricane Matthew, you’ll remember those ‘new’ mosquitoes as they were bigger, far more aggressive and they were present 24/7. Those are the salt marsh kind and they are brutal!
Now let’s factor in the mild winter which means that it didn’t get very cold. There was no hard freeze all winter long to kill dormant mosquito eggs. That means that all the mosquito eggs laid last Fall are just waiting. They are biding their time for the perfect conditions to hatch and they will go forth and make you miserable.
There are many mosquito eggs left over from last Fall because the mild winter didn’t eliminate them. Hurricane Matthew created untold quantities of breeding sites for mosquitoes and rekindled the dormant populations of salt marsh mosquitoes.