We all know that mosquitoes can carry some pretty nasty viruses. The threat of dengue fever and chikungunya has even prompted state health authorities to set up advanced warning stations to track these viruses. So it is logical to wonder if winter is a time when we can let our guard down a little. Here are some of the factors that can affect mosquito populations during the Florida winter, and how these affect the threat to you and your family.
We all know that mosquitoes love blood, but do you know that mosquitoes love moisture just as much. Just like blood, water is essential to their breeding process. After a blood meal, the female mosquito will mate, and then find a nice moist place to lay her eggs. This may be a pool of water, a pond, or some wet grass. The more moisture that is available, the faster mosquitoes can breed. You probably see where we're going with this. Florida winters are wet, that means mosquitoes are getting more of what they want; but they must balance this abundance of wetness with the fact that they can't stand the cold.
You would think that being a cold-blooded creature, mosquitoes would like the cold. But the reality is they don't like it to be too hot or too cold. In the heat of the noon-day summer sun, they can be found hiding in bushes or in some other form of covering. When the temperature drops in the evening, they come back out.
What does cold weather do to these cold-blooded creatures? They prefer temperatures in the 80's, to temperatures in the 50's; so when it dips down, they will seek harborage in holes, and wait till the temperature rises again. This is why you may see a drop in mosquitoes on some winter days; but as soon as it warms back up, they are out, taking advantage of all that moisture.
Whether it is winter or summer, mosquitoes prefer the shade. If you're going to be in a shaded area, especially near marsh or wetlands, it would be wise to make sure you have on an insect repellent with DEET in it. DEET is still the best deterrent to mosquito bites--although not complete, as we are sure you are well aware.
Florida mosquitoes don't take a break, and neither should you. If you have year-round pest control with mosquito abatement, it is wise to continue mosquito services through the winter. It may seem quiet on the mosquito front on a few days here and there, but those female mosquitoes are waiting to come back out at a moment's notice, and those eggs in your lawn are waiting to hatch. It is better to be safe, than to be bitten.
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