COLLEGE STATION, TX — Well, if you had an 'itch' that mosquitoes have returned to Texas.. you were right.
According to Texas A&M's AgriLife Extension Service, the recent rainfall flooding around the state has contributed to a recent boom in the mosquito population.
Heavy rains can leave the ground saturated and create standing puddles in ditches and low spots in fields and lawns.
Setting the perfect condition for floodwater mosquitoes, which are typically larger and more aggressive biters, according to AgriLife.
Floodwater mosquito larvae emerge quickly after water becomes available. Eggs are placed there by females and wait for water, sometimes two to five years before rainfall reaches them depending on the species.
Subsequent rains can wash larvae downstream but can also trigger dormant mosquito eggs.
These types of mosquitoes are often the persistent biters from dawn to dusk too, according to AgriLife.
That's not all though... as mosquitoes are known to emerge in the order of their preferred breeding environment.
According to AgriLife, there are actually two more groups to watch out for.
Container mosquitoes, which include the Aedes species identified by its black and white body and white striped legs, typically emerge next.
Female mosquitoes lay eggs in anything holding water – from tires, buckets, and wheelbarrows to gutters, unkempt pools, and trash cans. They prefer clearer, fresher water, and females are constantly looking for good breeding sites.
Container mosquitoes like Aedes are daytime feeders but can be opportunistic at nighttime when large groups of people gather.
Finally, we reach our third wave... culex mosquitoes.
Culex, a mosquito species that prefers stagnant pools of water with high bacteria content, typically emerges as waters recede and dry summer conditions set in and create breeding sites in low-lying areas. They are the disease carriers that concern the public and health officials.
However, it is not easy to forecast their emergence because their ideal environment can be washed away by additional rains or dried up by extreme heat and drought.
In rural areas, bogs, pooled creek beds, or standing water in large containers such as barrels, trash cans, or wheelbarrows can make a good habitat for Culex.
In the city, similar pools in dried-up creeks or other low spots can create breeding sites, but most urban issues occur underground in storm drains where water can sit and stagnate.
So what can you do?
AgriLife experts advise to always protect yourself when outdoors for extended periods. From CDC-approved repellents to covering up exposed skin, they also advise being mindful of your surroundings and avoiding/removing breeding grounds like exposed water.
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