They buzz, they bite and they make you itch. Now, thanks to an abundance of rain this summer and early fall, the little blood suckers are back with a vengeance.
Periods of excessive rain beginning in the spring have caused the mosquito population to explode in the Midstate, according to John Bitner, chief of the Vector Control/Weights & Measures Office for Cumberland County.
“We’ve been pretty inundated with people calling with mosquito complaints,” Bitner said.
The heavy rains experienced in the Midstate have created two problems that result in more mosquitoes, Bitner said. More standing water provides more breeding grounds for mosquitoes, which creates more opportunities to increase the mosquito population, he said.
The other problem is the rains have limited the ability of Vector Control to reduce the mosquito population.
Bitner said Vector Control typically sprays in the evening, but crews have been hampered by the rain. He said the spray the county uses is absorbed by the mosquitoes as they fly through it.
Since mosquitoes do not fly when it rains, the county can’t spray when it rains, he said.
Bitner said several residents have complained about getting bitten by mosquitoes during the day. The types of mosquitoes attracted to flood waters come out during the day, he said.
However, the county cannot spray during the day, because the chemicals used to kill the mosquitoes could also affect insects vital to the ecosystem like bees, which are also out during the daytime, Bitner said.
“The calls this week have been mostly from parents who say, ‘Hey, I’m taking my kids to the bus stop this morning and they’re getting eaten alive,’” Bitner said. “I’m going to guess, I’ve received 30 to 35 complaints of that type this week alone.”
Some relief may be in sight as the temperatures begin to cool.
Bitner said the county typically ends its mosquito control program at the end of September because mosquitoes cannot tolerate the colder weather. Given how abundant the bugs have been this year, Bitner said he expects the county to continue spraying for likely another two weeks.
Spraying schedules and maps are available by visiting the Vector Control section of Cumberland County’s website at ccpa.net.