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After drought, people may feel swarmed by bugs

Published On: Jun 07 2013 09:37:00 PM CDT   Updated On: Jun 08 2013 02:17:03 PM CDT


After last year's scorcher of a summer, UW entomologist Phil Pellitteri said this mosquito season could seem much worse than normal.

"After a particularly light year, as they said, normal mosquitoes, people just don't have fun with them,” Pellitteri said.

Pellitteri said cooler weather has helped keep the pest population out of sight.  He said the temperatures stunt their development, and even light winds can prevent mosquitoes from taking flight.

"It's too bright, it's too windy, so the mosquitoes lay low in the dense vegetation," Pellitteri said. "And so people might experience it.  You're walking along and all of the sudden you go through a heavy grass area, and it's like a cloud comes up.  They're just sitting there waiting."

Pellitteri considers this summer to be fairly normal for the bugs so far. 

He said while the insects came a little later than usual, the rest of the summer will be dictated by any heavy rainfalls, especially ones within the next few weeks.  Pellitteri said a good ground flooding could create optimal conditions for the critters to hatch and grow, and thus create another wave of mosquitoes.

"Half-inch rains, that's not a problem," Pellitteri said. "But 2-inch rains where we're holding water for 10 days? That'll give us another wave."

Along with repellent, Pellitteri suggested people leave a fan running on their outdoor patios or where they spend time outside.  He said mosquitoes don’t fly in winds higher than about 10 miles per hour, so if you keep the air moving, there is a better chance that they will stay away.

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