Dry weather means fewer mosquitos in central New York

Jul 25, 2012

Though the dry weather is causing hardships for some, there is at least one benefit -- mosquito populations are down in central New York.

Mosquitos collected by Onondaga County last week were just a third of the number collected at the same time last year. The drop in the population can be attributed to the lack of rain. It's depriving the pests of water, which they need to lay eggs and complete their life cycle.

Evan Walsh, who monitors mosquitoes for the Oswego County Health Department, says his traps have also been affected by the drop in population.

"I can think of one trap location where we could have anticipated getting maybe a thousand mosquitoes; we're only collecting a couple hundred," Walsh said.

Figures like those mean diseases like West Nile virus and Eastern equine encephalitis virus have not become widespread.

But we're not out of the proverbial woods yet, says Bobbi Jo Kahl, a sanitarian in Oneida County.

"The year's not over," Kahl said. "We could get some heavy, heavy rains in September or even into October, which sometimes -- if the weather is right and the rainfall is right -- could combine to have a huge bloom right before winter," Kahl said.

That might mean up to four years of floodwater mosquito eggs could all hatch at once. Still, Kahl says these floodwater mosquitoes are only secondary carriers of disease. Not like their more dangerous cousins, who... so far... have been kept at bay this year.