Floodwater mosquitoes are back 7.23

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

We had such a great summer going. Whatever happened?

Heavy rain + hot weather = mosquitoes.

And we’re not talking about just any old mosquito. The 7.5 inches of rain in the first nine days of July brought a return of the floodwater mosquitoes—a particularly pesky variety that’s just as happy to do its work on a sunny, breezy day as its tamer cousins are at nightfall.

“We have a large population of floodwater mosquitoes on the wing right now,” said Dr. Ned Walker, a Michigan State University professor who studies mosquito biology and control.

Walker explained last September—when the species was vexing residents in this area—that they don’t actually lay their eggs in water. Instead, the female deposits eggs in areas that are likely to be flooded.

Eggs can remain dormant for years until the right combination of water and temperature occurs, then out they come—to feed and lay more eggs during their two-week life span.

If more heavy rains arrive, there could be a lot more of the floodwater mosquito around before cold weather arrives in the fall.

“That seems to be the pattern this summer,” Walker said. “We’re getting fairly regular heavy rainfalls.”

Now, with low ground so saturated, it doesn’t take much to flood, Walker noted, and the mosquito population could continue to increase.

If there’s a good side to the issue, it’s that the floodwater mosquitoes found in this area are just pests rather than disease carriers.

Actually, they can be carriers of West Nile virus, Walker said, they just aren’t good transmitters. Although the virus may be present in a mosquito’s body, it doesn’t readily spit it back out.

There are more important carriers of the virus, but the Ades trivittatus species—probably the small mosquitoes going after the face these days—are strong carriers of the dog heartworm larva.

Control

“It’s really a struggle to do community-based mosquito control,” Walker said. “It takes funding and organization.”

Many communities, such as Morenci and Fayette, have spraying programs in which units are pulled along streets to deliver an insecticide.

That method has limited effectiveness, he said, but it can work quite well if the weather conditions are just right. Very low wind and a thermal inversion in the evening are ideal, Walker said, but Mother Nature generally doesn’t provide the optimum conditions.

A more effective program would require spraying foliage around the borders of yards, but this requires a ground crew and more equipment.

Many communities have even cut back on the spraying routine, he said, due to financial hardship.

With the first frost probably two months away, hope for gentle rains instead of the heavy downpours. Otherwise, the floodwater mosquitoes and their aggressive, dive-bombing ways could be with us off and on for several weeks.

  • Front.bridge Cross
    STEP BY STEP—Wyatt Stevens of Morenci makes his way across a rope bridge Sunday during the Michigan DNR’s Great Outdoors Jamboree at Lake Hudson Recreation Area. The Tecumseh Boy Scout Troop constructed the bridge again this year after taking a break in 2016. The Jamboree offered a variety of activities for a wide range of age groups. Morenci’s Stair District Library set up activities again this year and had visits with dozens of kids. See the back page for additional photos.
  • Front.bridge.17
    LEADING THE WAY—The Morenci Area High School marching band led the way across the pedestrian bridge on Morenci’s south side for the annual Labor Day Bridge Walk. The Band Boosters shared profits from the sale of T-shirts with the walk’s sponsor, the Morenci Area Chamber of Commerce. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.eclipse
    LOOKING UP—More than 200 people showed up at Stair District Library Monday afternoon to view the big celestial event with free glasses provided by a grant from the Space Science Institute. The library offered craft activities from noon to 1 p.m., refreshments including Cosmic Cake from Zingerman’s Bakehouse and a live viewing of the eclipse from NASA on a large screen. As the sky darkened slightly, more and more people moved outside to the sidewalk to take a look at the shrinking sun. If you missed it, hang on for the next total eclipse in 2024 as the path comes even closer to this area.
  • Cecil
    THE MAYOR—Cecil Schoonover poses with a collection of garden gnomes that mysteriously arrive and disappear from his property. Along with the gnomes, someone created the sign stating that he is the Mayor of Gnomesville. He hasn’t yet tracked down the people involved in the prank, but he’s having a good time with the mystery.
  • Front.rest
    TAKE A BREAK—Last Wednesday’s session of Stair District Library’s Summer Reading Program ended with a quiet period in a class presented by yoga instructor Melany Gladieux of Toledo. Children learned a variety of yoga poses in the main room at the library, then finished off the session relaxing. Additional photos are on page 7. Area children are invited to visit the library today when the Michigan Science Center presents a flight program at 11 a.m. and roller coasters at 1 p.m.
  • Front.batter
    THE DERBY—Tyler “Smallpox” Flakne of Minnesota’s Home Run League All-Stars goes for the fence Friday night during the National Wiffle League Association’s home run derby in Morenci. This year the wiffleball national tournament moved from Dublin, Ohio, to Morenci’s Wakefield Park. During the derby, competitors had two minutes to hit as many home runs as possible. The winner this year finished with 21. See page 6 and 7 for additional photos.
  • Front.green Screen
    OUT OF THIS WORLD—Elizabeth McFadden and Elise Christle pose in front of the green screen as VolunTeen Noah Gilson makes them appear as though they are standing on the Moon. More photos from the Stair District Library’s NASA @ My Library program are on page 12.
  • Front.fireworks
    FIREWORKS erupt Saturday night over Morenci’s Wakefield Park during the waning hours of the Town and Country Festival. Additional festival photos are inside.
  • Front.batter

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2017