SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — You may have noticed more mosquitoes flying around this year than normal. Many NewsChannel 9 viewers reached out wondering why they are out in full force this year.
The reason: the weather we’ve been having this summer.
“It’s been a really wet year and mosquitoes need water to lay their eggs,” said SUNY ESF Associate Professor of Epidemiology and Disease Ecology, Brian Leydet.
This summer, rainfall in the area came in just below 20 inches, making it the second wettest summer after 1922, with data going back to 1902.
Eliza Perrin from DeWitt says she’d come to the Old Erie Canal Trail all the time last year, but the swarms of mosquitoes are making a simple walk with her eight-month-old son unbearable!
It’s so frustrating, especially with a little one. I have a fan on him to keep them away, but he can’t wear bug spray yet. It’s not safe for little ones, so it’s definitely scary and really frustrating.Eliza Perrin, DeWitt resident
According to the Onondaga County Health Department’s website, mosquitoes breed in water that’s not in motion or has no flow.
Associate Professor Leydet explained that the hot days also played a factor in the mosquito count this year. He said that as the temperature increases, mosquitoes reproducer faster.
This summer was the third hottest on record in the region. Average low temperatures were the warmest we’ve seen. Lows were almost four degrees above normal and we had a record number of 20 days in which the low never dropped below 70 degrees.
In a statement sent to NewsChannel 9, a spokesperson for Onondaga County said the health department has no plans to comfort spray at this time.
Spraying only takes place if a virus like the West Nile Virus (WNV) and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) are present in the community, or if there’s a public health threat.
Read the full statement below:
Given the significant amount of rainfall in Onondaga County recently, the mosquito population is higher than usual at this time of year. While the type of mosquitoes that are currently being collected in our mosquito surveillance traps are aggressive biters, they are not the species that carry viruses and are therefore not a threat to public health. No virus has been found since the second week of August.
The decision to spray is based on several factors including the number of mosquitoes found in mosquito surveillance traps and the presence of virus in the mosquitoes. All spraying decisions are made with assistance from the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC). While mosquitoes can be a nuisance, the Health Department does not spray for comfort. Spraying will only occur if virus is present or if the number of mosquitoes and conditions are present which would indicate a public health threat.
It is extremely important to remove mosquito breeding grounds by eliminating any standing water that may have collected on your property and to use personal protection measures when spending time outdoors. For more information, please see our Aerial Mosquito Spraying FAQs at http://www.ongov.net/health/env/mosquito-spraying-faq.html.Onondaga County Health Department statement: September 4, 2021
The 2021 Onondaga County Health Department’s mosquito surveillance and control program data is listed below:
The Onondaga County Health department says if you have areas of stagnant water around your home such as on top of your swimming pool cover, rain barrel, or bird bath, you may want to consider treating the water with mosquito dunks.
They also have some tips on using mosquito repellents:
- Use an EPA-registered insect repellent.
- Always follow the label directions to ensure proper use.
- Look for repellents containing DEET, Picaridin, IR3535 and oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol, or 2-undecanone. Higher amounts of active ingredient provides longer-lasting protection.
- Do not allow children to handle repellent. Put a small amount of repellent on your hands and apply it to your child.
- Use just enough repellent to cover exposed skin.
- Do not use repellents under your clothing.
- Do not spray repellent directly on your face, especially near the eyes or mouth. Apply repellent sparingly near the ears.
- Do not use repellent on cuts, wounds, or irritated skin.
- Do not spray repellent in enclosed areas.
- After returning indoors, wash treated skin with soap and water.
- If you suspect a reaction to a repellent, wash the treated skin with soap and water and contact your local poison control center.