Rain brings a buzz

Published 8:09 pm Saturday, July 4, 2015

By Azana Carr


The hot summer season is well under way, and with it comes the arrival of unwanted guests.

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The recent heavy thunderstorms have attracted a new horde of mosquitoes in the city’s area. According to the Suffolk Mosquito Control Superintendent Charles Abadam, it’s a constant cycle that repeats itself every season.

The cycle begins with stagnant pools of water that form from the passing rain. Mosquitoes seek out these still pools, often filled with the fresh water they prefer, and lay their eggs. It doesn’t take long for these eggs go from larvae to pupae to full adult mosquitoes. In fact, the growth cycle of these insects is only seven days. If weather patterns permit, the fresh rain flushes out the standing water, and anything in it.

“You can’t really tell how bad a season is,” Abadam said. But despite the downpour of rain within the last couple of weeks, the number of mosquitoes has gone down by 25 percent compared to last year, including the months of April, May and June.

The treatment used by Suffolk’s mosquito control is generally divided into three types: larvae, pupae and adults. Both treatments for larvae and pupae are placed into water but work in different ways to kill the pests. Treatments for the adults are what people usually think of when they want to get rid of mosquitoes, which is spray. Once they reach a quota of mosquitoes in an area, the company sends trucks out to cover the surrounding roads with pesticide.

“The Suffolk area is very unique with its mosquito population because we live next to the Dismal Swamp,” Abadam said. “Even historically, Suffolk was largely a swamp.”

One particular species that is quite common due to the swamp is the culiseta melanura; its population stays dense from April to the end of the season. There is no need to fear this species, however, since they are bird biters and rarely see humans as a food source.

For the ones that do, there are simple solutions to keep them at bay. Any kind of store-bought spray is enough to repel mosquitoes, but it’s advised to read the labels carefully when using them. Too little spray won’t solve the problem; too much will potentially harm the environment. To lower the chances of creating a breeding ground, it’s important to check and dump weekly anything capable of holding water.

To help out the community, the Suffolk Mosquito Control distributes free mosquito dunks at all fire stations; just show valid identification proving Suffolk residency.