The increase in mosquitoes is “a trend” across Canada this year. Here because

Mosquitoes.

They are thirsty bloodsuckers who annoy those who traverse the wild, feasting on their salty life source while leaving red, itchy bumps behind.

And this year across Canada, it seems the pesky bugs are worse than ever.

Those who have wondered about an increase in mosquitoes may be right, according to Laura Ferguson, an assistant professor of biology at Acadia University in Nova Scotia.

“It’s definitely been a trend to some extent that people are noticing anecdotally,” she told CTVNews.ca in an interview on Friday. “New Brunswick, in particular, has seen large explosions in mosquito populations over the past couple of years, especially this mid to late spring.”

Why the mosquitoes can be worse than normal in some areas has more than one answer.

WHY MOSQUITOES ARE SO HURT THIS YEAR

Ferguson works with a team to study mosquitoes, understand different species, and monitor their abundance across North America.

“It’s for several reasons that we’re seeing more mosquitoes than we might have in at least the last two decades or so,” he said.

The first contributing reason is that there are more mosquito species than in years past.

Several species travel with human goods around the world. They then breed in their new homes, creating populations of specific types of mosquitoes where they have never existed before.

“Here in Nova Scotia, for example, we didn’t have a (species) a couple of decades ago. It came from Japan in tires, we think and it just blew up all over the province and now you can find it everywhere,” Ferguson said. .

Also, Ferguson said, warmer winters caused by climate change allow mosquitoes that would die in the winter to survive and continue to reproduce.

In addition to being able to survive warmer weather, some types of mosquitoes are able to reproduce faster in warm temperatures due to the type of insect they are. Ferguson says mosquitoes are ectotherms, meaning their body temperature regulation depends on external sources like the sun.

Precipitation also plays a role in how mosquitoes can survive, because they lay their eggs in standing water.

Ferguson said if it’s a particularly dry spring there may be fewer mosquitoes around, depending on the species. Others lay their eggs in the fall, so there would only be a steep decline in mosquitoes if the previous year had been dry.

Another theory that needs further research, Ferguson said, is that of the waning effects of the chemical dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT), which was used in the past to control insects in crops but was phased out in the 1970s a due to its damage to other species.

Despite this, the chemical can still be found in water and circulates in ecosystems.

“Those kinds of really persistent keeping effects of these insecticides might have even suppressed mosquito populations for a few decades,” he said. “And now we’re experiencing some of this rebound of these populations as these insecticides and their effects start to wear off in the environment.”

WHAT CAN YOU DO WITH MOSQUITOES?

Unfortunately all these factors lead to an increase in mosquitoes, a problem with no quick fixes.

“I think for the most part what we need to do is just figure out how to protect ourselves from contact with mosquitoes because they’re part of the ecosystem,” Ferguson said.

“On a regular basis it will be things like stepping out onto a screened porch instead of outside, making sure you dump standing water everywhere in your yard.”

Using repellents like DEET and some natural oils can help when out in the woods, Ferguson said.

“Wear light colors, long sleeves, that sort of thing to reduce the area of ​​your body that’s exposed to potential bites,” Ferguson said. “That sort of thing is kind of our best bet to try and prevent our contact with them as much as possible.”

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