Why climate change is fueling the increase in mosquito numbers in NC

A new study has found it "first" Mosquito days are on the rise in the Wilmington area and throughout North Carolina as climate change causes warmer temperatures.  STARNEWS FILE PHOTOS

They’re as much a part of summer in Southeast North Carolina as the sun, sand, and surf.

But the buzz generated by these kids isn’t one that anyone really appreciates, and a new study shows that North Carolina’s warm climate fueled by climate change is creating better living conditions for the region’s bloodsucking residents.

A recent analysis by Climate Central found that Wilmington had 11 more “mosquito days” for a total of 221 in 2022 than in 1979. The non-profit climate communication group defined mosquito days as having a relative humidity average of 42% or higher and daily minimum and maximum temperatures between 50 and 95 degrees. While Port City’s numbers are pointing in the wrong direction, it was better than what researchers found in Raleigh-Durham (+27 days), Greenville (+22 days), and Asheville (+22 days).

Last year Wilmington experienced 221 days considered favorable for mosquitoes, an 11-day increase from 1979.

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Overall, the study found that 173 locations, or 71 percent of the 242 U.S. locations analyzed, saw annual mosquito days increase by an average of 16 days. In 55 locations, annual mosquito days increased by 21 days or more. Leading the pack was Santa Maria, California, which saw an increase of 43 days, closely followed by San Francisco with 42 days. Unsurprisingly, the Southeast and South experience mosquito days more than half of the year, the highest in the nation.

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