Heard on Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson

Mosquitoes Are Out and They Are Fierce”: Why There Are So Many and How to Protect Yourself

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Image credit: CDC

Itching for relief? You’re not alone. Entomologist Howard Russell explains the causes of an intense mosquito population in Michigan right now and how we can combat the pesky insects.

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Mosquitoes are worse than ever in Michigan, experts say. Michigan residents are working hard to protect themselves from bites, but it is proving to be a difficult endeavor. So, why are mosquitoes so bad this year and what can we do to combat the burgeoning mosquito population? 

We’ve seen a dramatic increase in mosquitoes … mosquito larvae are aquatic and they develop in those temporary little bodies of water that we have around our homes. Those mosquitoes are out and they are fierce. If you’re not protected, they are going to attack you.” —Howard Russell, Michigan State University


Listen: Why are mosquitoes so pervasive this year?


Guest

Howard Russell is an entomologist with Michigan State University. “We’ve seen a dramatic increase in mosquitoes … mosquito larvae are aquatic and they develop in those temporary little bodies of water that we have around our homes. Those mosquitoes are out and they are fierce. If you’re not protected, they are going to attack you,” he says. 

Russell explains mosquito populations have risen as a result of heavy summer rains. ”Michigan is blessed with almost 65 different species of mosquitos,” says Russell. ”If the summer is really wet … they produce what I would call summer mosquitos. Summer mosquitos are a bit different from spring mosquitos in that they will produce generation after generation.”

Russell says there are a number of ways to protect yourself from mosquitoes. ”I have a backpack gasoline-fired mosquito sprayer and I use an insecticide called Cyonara,” Russell says. ”My wife and I, we use a variety of tactics. We both bought head nets this year … We wear really loose clothing. If you’re going out in skinny jeans and tight-fitting clothes, mosquitos will bite right through those.”

Web story written by Molly Ryan

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