BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A wetter than normal spring produced a lot of mosquito larvae, which are now taking wing to feed on us.
“It seems to have increased three times what it would normally be. In some areas, it’s a little higher. In some places, it’s five to six times higher,” Brian Pendergast, Maryland Department of Agriculture’s mosquito control manager, said.
The MDA uses traps. In some, 150 female mosquitoes have been trapped in a single night. Twenty-four is enough to launch spraying.
The pesticide kills mosquitoes on contact. It is not considered harmful to people.
“That’s the same chemical that’s in a lot of dog flea shampoos and it’s in shampoo for human mites,” Pendergast said.
The real health risks are diseases carried by mosquitoes. According to Baltimore City Health Commissioner Leana Wen, some of these include encephalitis that causes severe brain infections, dengue fever, West Nile that can cause many severe effects, including severe bleeding, and even liver, kidney and total body failure and death.
The best defense against mosquitoes starts in our own backyards.
“Mosquitoes breed in standing water,” Wen said. “So the most important thing we can do is eliminate standing water.”
Easy to do in bird baths and potted plants, but not so easy in the state’s marshes and areas that flooded last spring. Even with aerial spraying, mosquitoes still have strength in numbers.