The recent wet weather has created more opportunities for them to breed.
Baltimore, Md (KM) Summer isn’t just fun in the sun for most people. It’s also a time for mosquitoes.
The Maryland Department of Health is predicting more of these pesky insects this summer. “First, with all the water and the standing water that’s been around, that provides the environment for the mosquitoes to lay their eggs, have the larvae hatch, and basically mature to adult mosquitoes which feed on people,” said Dr. David Crum, the State’s Public Health Veterinarian.
He says the Departments of Health and Agriculture put out traps around the state to capture and count mosquitoes. Already, the numbers of these biting insects are increasing. “We started on July 1st. Now we have been accepting samples before then, but it officially starts July 1st. And again, we have seen high numbers of mosquitoes in the traps,” says Dr. Crum
Mosquitoes in Maryland are known to transmit West Nile Virus with their bites, but these insects also spread other diseases. “Virus like chikungunya and dengue virus and Zika mainly are a risk to people traveling to areas in the world where these viruses are endemic,” says Dr. Crum. “Thankfully, in Maryland, we have no local transmission of dengue, Zika and chikungunya. The primary virus we worry about here in Maryland is West Nile Virus.”
Outbreaks of Zika virus have been reported in Africa, Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands. There have been reports of limited transmission of Zika in the United States. . But the State Health Department says the mosquito which transmits the Zika virus, the Aedes aegypti, is not found in Maryland.
For those who go out when mosquitoes are active, Dr. Crum recommends they use insect repellent. “You want to use a mosquito repellent that has an active ingredient like DEET, piraridin, IR 3535, oils lemon eucalyptis. These are Environmental Protection Agency registered insect repellents,” he says. Residents can also go to the EPA website and find out which repellents would be best suited for their needs.
In addition, if you’re going out, wear long pants and long sleeve shirts.
Dr. Crum also says get rid of any standing water on your properties. He says mosquitoes breed in standing water, and if you have standing water that been on your property more than seven days, dump it. . That includes bird baths. “You can have ’em,” he says. “But again, change that water or make sure that’s being changed less than every seven days. Because the mosquitoes lay their eggs in the water, and then you have these larvae form, and then they pupate and become adults.”
If you’re traveling overseas to countries where the Zika and other viruses are prevelent, Dr. Crum says try to avoid being bitten when you get back for at least seven days. . He says if you were bitten in another country by a mosquito, you could have Zika, Dengue or Chikungunya, and local mosquitoes could contract those viruses, and transmit them to others. “If you develop any of the signs associated with Dengue, chikungunya and Zika–like fever, headache, muscle pain, joint pain or rash–talk to your health care provider immediately and discuss your travel history. Let them know where you’ve been because they can make the appropriate diagnosis and diagnostic,”: he says.
By Kevin McManus