Tips to keep mosquitoes away after heavy rain, record flooding

CHICAGO (WLS) -- After the recent heavy rains and flooding in the Chicago area, you may notice an increase in mosquitoes.

Entomologist Dr. Ted Burgess from Northern Illinois University joined ABC7 Chicago via Skype with some tips on how to reduce mosqitoes around your home.

He said, while you do tend to see exploding mosquito populations after heavy rains, the two don't necessarily go hand in hand.

Heavy rains can create more habitat for mosquito breeding, but there are other conditions required to trigger swarms, like temperature and stagnant water, Burgess said.

Burgess also pointed out that a wet spring doesn't mean there will be lots of mosquitoes all summer. He said we may have conditions that prompt a large hatch of mosquitoes in spring, but a July drought can dry up their breeding sites and the population crashes.

Where are some places that mosquitoes tend breed?
There are two classes of mosquitoes:

  • Floodwater mosquitoes are the pesky ones that buzz around and bite you and leave an itchy welt. They often breed in flood waters out in farm fields or puddles in your yard.

  • Culex mosquitoes are potential spreaders of disease.They like places with nasty gross water, such as bird baths, poorly drained planters, etc.

  • What can you do to eliminate mosquito breeding places?
  • Culex mosquitoes don't travel far, so it's important to eliminate their breeding spots - empty and refill bird bath once a week, keep rain barrels covered, dump out standing water in pots, fill in low areas of the yard where water settles.

  • Doing so can dramatically decrease mosquitoes in your yard - and the whole neighborhood if everyone does those things.

  • Burgess said nearly every county has a public health department or mosquito district that closely monitors culex mosquitoes.

    They often set up traps and monitor breeding locations, and when populations reach a certain threshold they bring in mosquito control companies that do fogging and larviciding to keep the populations down.

    Can mosquitoes transmit COVID-19?
    Burgess also noted that there is no evidence to suggest that mosquitoes transmit ANY sort of coronavirus, let alone COVID-19. For a virus to be transmitted by a mosquito, it must have the ability to replicate inside the mosquitoes body, and to date it has been found that corona viruses cannot do so.
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