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Experts expect high mosquito population in Northeast Wisconsin for several weeks

Why are there so many mosquitoes?
Virus Outbreak Viral Questions Mosquitoes
Posted at 9:41 PM, Aug 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-23 22:41:25-04

Noticing more mosquito bites lately? You're not alone.

Experts said recent rainfall "set the stage" for the increase in mosquitoes we've seen buzzing around Northeast Wisconsin lately.

"Whenever we have heavy rainfall events like that it's not uncommon to have that followed up with some decent mosquito populations," said PJ Liesch, a UW Extension entomologist.

Liesch said there are 60 species of mosquitoes in Wisconsin, each with the ability to survive in different conditions. Some can survive during the state's more mild winter days. Others lay eggs that can last years before they hatch, waiting for more favorable conditions with extra water and precipitation.

With the amount of rain and saturated ground the area's had lately, Liesch said it's likely we're seeing what are known as 'floodwater mosquitoes.'

“These are types of mosquitoes where the eggs are laid, not necessarily in water, but in low lying areas that are prone to flooding and pooling of water when we do get heavy rainfalls," Liesch said. "So the eggs are simply sitting out there waiting, and then when the rains come, the eggs hatch and within about two weeks we get a batch of adult mosquitoes."

More mosquitoes means more calls for the Mosquito Squad of Northeast Wisconsin.

"Based on what we've seen, even some of our annual, seasonal customers, we are seeing a high population of mosquitoes right now," said Andrew Ratka, owner of the Mosquito Squad of Northeast Wisconsin.

Ratka treated the area of a home in Neenah Monday afternoon.

On every job, Ratka walks around the property and checks for standing water. He dumped water out of a wheelbarrow, small table and flower pot.

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Andrew Ratka dumps standing water out of a small table Monday at a home in Neenah.

"It only takes the underside of a bottle cap for a female to lay 300 eggs," Ratka said. "When clients are experiencing high populations of mosquitoes, there's always standing water somewhere on the property and it can be very small or very big."

Based on weather conditions, Liesch and Ratka said they expect the mosquito population to remain high for at least a couple more weeks until the temperature drops to the 50s or 60s. Liesch said the first hard frost of the year marks the end of the mosquito season.

There are ways people can protect themselves until that time comes. Liesch suggests wearing EPA approved repellents, such as products with DEET, and long sleeve clothing while outdoors. He said setting up a box fan with the wind blowing toward people can stop mosquitoes from biting, because the bugs can't fly against a decent breeze.

The Mosquito Squad of Northeast Wisconsin offers the 7 T's of mosquito control:

  • Tip over areas with standing water
  • Toss excess grass, leaves, firewood and grass-clippings from yard.
  • Turn over larger yard items, like portable sandboxes, plastic toys or birdbaths.
  • Remove Tarps if stretched over firewood piles, boats or sports equipment and aren't taut.
  • Take Care of home maintenance that can lead to standing water.
  • Team Up with neighbors to control mosquito and tick populations.
  • Treat with a mosquito elimination barrier.