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Residents of swamped Texas city face inundation of mosquitoes after recent storms: 'The mosquito season is always bad, but right now it's worse'

"We are getting hotter temperatures earlier."

"We are getting hotter temperatures earlier."

Photo Credit: iStock

Summertime means mosquito season for many, but it's much worse than usual for some.

As seasons get hotter and heat comes earlier, communities are preparing to stay clear of pesky insects

What's happening?

The Washington Post reported that after weeks of heavy rains in Texas, many in Houston have to deal with the aftermath, which includes swarms of certain insects. As Houston is generally a level landscape, many ditches along streets carry stormwater to nearby Galveston Bay. Bodies of water that form along that path have created ideal hotspots for mosquitoes to multiply.

"We are getting hotter temperatures earlier. This is the impact that climate change has had on Harris County," Max Vigilant, the Harris County director of mosquito and vector control, told the Post. 

Harris County, where Houston is located, is warm enough year-round that any of the 50 species of mosquitoes that call it home can strike on citizens. Because of the three weeks of storms, the insects have more places to lay their eggs. 

To deal with the ongoing challenge, the Harris County Public Health Department advocated for spraying pesticides on mosquitoes that can carry diseases and advised citizens to toss out bird baths or items that gather water. 

Some residents have been more prone to being bitten.

"The mosquito season is always bad, but right now it's worse," full-time tennis instructor Josue Medina said to the Post. 

Why does an influx of mosquitoes matter?

Mosquitoes are most commonly encountered beginning in late spring. While they become active at 50 degrees Fahrenheit and above, they thrive when temperatures exceed 70 degrees, per Terminix.

With planet-warming gases being released all the time, mosquitoes have more capacity to spread and potentially infect residents. With temperatures, on average, remaining higher for longer, this causes health care costs to soar. 

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, warmer temperatures can accelerate mosquito development and biting rates. By biting, a mosquito can transmit diseases such as the West Nile virus, which has an average of 2,205 cases reported in the U.S. yearly, per the Department of Health and Human Services. 

In Harris County, 50 to 70 mosquitoes a minute were recorded landing on staffers in some areas, as reported by the Post. 

What's being done about it?

According to the Post, no pathogens were detected in the tests carried out by the Houston Public Health Department. Despite a warming planet causing many challenges, there are clever ways to keep the pesky insects at bay. 

Setting up a backyard pond that uses Mosquito Dunks, a bacteria that stops them from maturing, works well. Plants including lavender, thyme, geraniums, peppermint, and lemongrass also serve as natural mosquito repellents.

Changing everyday habits, such as switching from single-use plastics to reusables or conserving energy to reduce harmful pollution, is also effective. 

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