A quick public service reminder: I'm just the messenger. Mosquito season across the Northland is getting longer as our growing season gradually increases over time, the result of a slowly-warming climate. Yes, spring was a gong-show, and a record 140.1" falling last winter doesn't negate the fact that temperatures are consistently staying warmer (longer and deeper) into late autumn across Minnesota, Wisconsin and most of the northern tier of the US, according to NOAA weather data.
Climate Central is tracking "Mosquito Days", when warm and humid weather favors skeeter activity. More mosquito days mean more opportunities for mosquitoes to bite people and potentially transmit disease. A little perspective is in order: according to Climate Central rates of infection and the severity of resulting health effects are much lower in the U.S. than in tropical and subtropical regions. About half of the global population is at risk of malaria or dengue, which can be life-threatening in the absence of effective prevention and treatment. Here at home mosquitoes are more of a nuisance than a life-threatening disease vector.
The 10 locations that saw the biggest increase in mosquito days since 1979 were:
Gee thanks for brightening up my day, Paul! The trends are the trends and all we can do is be prepared to deal with mosquitoes a few more weeks every year. According to CDC (The Centers for Disease Control): use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents with one of the active ingredients below. When used as directed, EPA-registered insect repellents are proven safe and effective, even for pregnant and breastfeeding women.
- Picaridin (known as KBR 3023 and icaridin outside the US)
- Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE)
- Para-menthane-diol (PMD)
Wearing loose-fitting, long-sleeved shirts and pants when you're outside for an extended period of time. If you're camping in the woods use 0.5% permethrin to treat clothing and gear (such as boots, pants, socks, and tents) or buy permethrin-treated clothing and gear.
Anecdotally, there is some evidence that mosquitoes don't like coconut oils, and some people swear by Palmer's Coconut Oil Formula Body Lotion. I bought a bottle on Amazon and I intend to check out this theory for myself this summer. If you're interested, I have more details in a previous post here.
Hey, it's not snowing. Mosquito season is here - and it may stick around a little longer than it did for our parents, and their parents. We got this!