Officials: Mosquito numbers up in Maryland amid rain, floods

BALTIMORE (AP) — Mosquitoes have multiplied up to three times their normal early summer numbers in many Maryland areas as storms and flooding have provided plenty of water for breeding.

Flooding in May into June created conditions for “floodwater mosquitoes” to thrive and grow, said Mike Raupp, professor of entomology at the University of Maryland.

And now, with thunderstorms popping up over the D.C. area, rain filling buckets or birdbaths in people’s backyards will create a different set of conditions for other breeds of mosquitoes that will bring “hours of terror, both night and day,” Raupp said.

“We’ve got a real situation going on where there’s a lot of biting going on,” he added.

With temperatures in the 90s, mosquito populations will “build up,” Raupp said.

The Baltimore Sun quoted state public health veterinarian David Crum saying in a Thursday report no mosquito-borne diseases have been reported this year, but that does not mean there will not be any as mosquito season runs through October.

State Department of Agriculture mosquito control program manager Brian Prendergast said mosquito numbers went way up about a week after rains in mid-May. Crews are spraying pesticide from trucks in areas such as the Baltimore region and from the air on the Eastern Shore.

Wicomico County’s mosquito control program director Larry Lembeck told The Daily Times this is the worst summer he has seen since 1979.

To fight back, Raupp suggests getting rid of potential mosquito breeding sites, such as making sure outside containers aren’t collecting standing rainwater. Trap mosquitoes if possible, and work together with neighbors to target the blood-sucking pests.

Raupp also said wearing long-sleeve, light-weight clothing while doing yard work can help mitigate mosquito bites. Or, get permethrin clothing, which is clothing already pre-treated with a potent mosquito repellent — Raupp said he wore permethrin-treated clothing in the jungles of South America.

Raupp said he uses a botanically-based repellent like lemon eucalyptus oil for four to six hours of protection. For longer periods, up to eight hours, he said he uses a repellent with picaridin.

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