The damage of the 2017 hurricanes will extend long beyond the season. See how hurricanes Harvey and Irma can increase the population of mosquitoes.
Hurricane season is known for bringing strong winds, excessive rain and flooding, and lots of destruction to states from the Gulf of Mexico all the way up the Atlantic coast. For days, weeks, and months, city residents affected by hurricane storms are left to clean up the damages.
The 2017 hurricane season in the Atlantic was especially devastating to communities in Texas from Corpus Christi to Houston and in Florida from Miami to Jacksonville. The effects went well beyond those areas so devastated by flooding.
According to the Washington Post, Hurricane Harvey dispensed approximately 33 trillion gallons of rainfall not only in Texas and Louisiana, but also in Tennessee and Kentucky as the storm progressed north with torrential rainfall.
Hurricane Irma was devastating as well. Rainfall totals surpassed 15 inches in some parts of Florida, more than 10 inches in parts of Georgia, and more than 8 inches in parts of South Carolina.
But some of the negative impacts of a hurricane don’t show up right away, instead arriving weeks, months — even years — later. We’re talking about mosquitoes. Homeowners and volunteers are left to fight the biting pests as they work night and day to clean up homes and neighborhoods.
An increase in mosquito populations
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, mosquito eggs laid in the soil by floodwater mosquitoes during previous floods hatch due to new flooding caused by hurricanes. Floodwater mosquitoes are considered “nuisance” mosquitoes and generally don’t spread viruses.
However, the types of mosquitoes that can spread viruses may increase two weeks to two months after a hurricane, especially in areas that did not flood but received more rainfall than usual.
According to a report from NBC News, receding flood waters and the debris left behind can be a haven for Aedes aegypti, the mosquitoes that carry viruses such as dengue and Zika virus.
“Stagnating water in ditches, bayous and flooded fields will breed other mosquitoes that spread West Nile virus,” reports NBC.
While the immediate increase in nuisance mosquitoes can be, well, a nuisance, the real concern lies in the coming months and years, when disease-carrying mosquitoes could begin to increase. According to The Atlantic, “The following year, researchers observed a more than twofold increase in cases of West Nile neuroinvasive disease — a more serious infection that can cause convulsions and even coma — in areas affected by [Hurricane] Katrina.”
How to protect you and your family from biting mosquitoes
As people spend more time outside cleaning up after a hurricane or flood, they’re more likely to encounter bites from the new population of mosquitoes. The CDC recommends wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants to help protect from bites. Homeowners should also take care to try and remove any standing water that remains in areas around the yard; check flower pots, trash cans, etc.
As cleanup continues, consider also signing up for Mosquito Defense. This innovative mosquito control formula can eradicate biting mosquitoes from your yard in 24 hours.