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How Will The 2017 Hurricane Season Affect Mosquito Populations?

The Atlantic Hurricane season, which began on June 1st and will end on November 30th, is underway and predicted to be one of worst on record. Along with the devastation and tragedy caused by Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma and two more hurricanes are currently churning in the Atlantic.

On August 25th, Hurricane Harvey dropped 40-52 inches of rain on southeast Texas and southwest Louisiana. The category 4 hurricane caused catastrophic flooding in its path and flash flooding in parts of Arkansas, Kentucky, and Tennessee. Wind from Harvey also resulted in damage to homes, buildings and widespread destruction.

Today, the East Coast sits on pins and needles waiting on where Irma, now a category 5 hurricane, will strike.

Taking into consideration the property damage, injuries, fatalities and sheer devastation resulting from a hurricane, it is also important to consider how storms such as these can elevate mosquito populations and increase mosquito-borne illness and diseases in their aftermath.

Mosquitoes need three elements to prosper and multiply. These are moisture of which to lay their eggs, blood to enable them to produce eggs and warm temperatures to stay active enough to seek out a blood meal. Post-hurricane conditions and the added precipitation created equal the perfect catalyst for a mosquito explosion.

Mosquito larvae and eggs in standing water

A recent article published by motherjones.com points our that severe flooding in urban areas creates an initial “flushing effect” that reduces mosquito populations for a short time. “Mosquitoes don’t like moving water because [the larvae] breathe through the surface of the water, and they need to stay stationary, essentially. But all the stagnant water left behind by an epic storm like Harvey enables the mosquitoes to surge back stronger than ever This creates a lot of potential habitats where the mosquito can breed, feed and thrive.

Hurricane-induced rains can affect not only the areas in the storm’s path, but also areas that receive increased precipitation as a result of its remnants. Just this past week, Chester and Delaware County PA felt the ripple effect of Harvey as showers bringing YTD precipitation totals to 32.4.

The good news is that as fall approaches, mosquito season will begin to wane before too long. Even as we approach cooler temperatures it is still important to continue to inspect your property for sources of standing water such as covers for outdoor furniture or grills, birdbaths, flower pots, wheelbarrows and much more. Please visit our How You Can Eliminate Mosquitoes and Ticks page for a complete list of areas to inspect.

Contact Mosquito Squad of Chester & Delaware Counties to learn more about keeping you and your loved ones safe from mosquitoes, ticks and other nuisane insects.
Give us a call at (610) 674-0799.

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