Hurricanes and heavy rains can cause more mosquitoes

Hurricane season can bring more than just strong winds and floods, more rainfall gives provides room for mosquitos to grow.
Published: Sep. 10, 2023 at 6:22 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Hurricane season can bring more than just strong winds and floods, more rainfall provides room for mosquitos to grow.

Many people like Alec Hougdahl and Meredith Smith enjoy spending time outside towards the end of summer. Lately, the pair said they have been seeing more mosquitoes than normal.

“I feel like the mosquitoes are at their peak craziness after it rains or we have any type of moisture outside,” said Hougdahl.

Hougdahl and Smith are not alone. According to Mike Doyle, an entomologist for the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, more rainfall can bring in more mosquitoes.

“After hurricanes, places are being flooded that hadn’t been flooded for perhaps years, very likely, there are billions of mosquito eggs sitting right there and waiting to hatch. And that’s why we often will go from no mosquitoes for three or four days after a large storm to suddenly billions of them almost overnight,” said Doyle.

He said that mosquito eggs can last through the winter and only need up to a quarter inch of water to survive.

“The most popular or unpopular mosquitos after a hurricane are the Psorophora Ciliata. You know it’s a bad mosquito when the very first part of its name ‘psoriasis’ means to itch. They cause an itchy bite that can become infected after scratching,” said Doyle.

Also known as “gallinippers,” these mosquitoes are bigger and more aggressive. The mosquito eggs can hatch after flood waters take over normally dry areas.

Different kinds of mosquitoes can pose different threats. Doyle said flood mosquitoes are not the only concern.

“More long-term danger that we’re concerned about is caused by the smaller but more sneaky mosquitoes around the home. One is called the southern house mosquito, and it’s around most homes along the North Carolina coast. And it spreads West Nile for example, we have three neuroinvasive West Nile human cases just in New Hanover County,” said Doyle.

He also recommended getting rid of any standing water and using an EPA-approved repellent to protect you and your family.

New Hanover County and other surrounding areas offer regular mosquito control. A link for details on where the county is spraying for mosquitoes can be found here.

“I think that they shouldn’t exist. And well, I just don’t understand why they have to exist,” said Milena Ferrell, a resident of New Hanover County.